I’m sure most of you who are reading this have seen the film, but on the off chance that you haven’t I’ll keep things as spoiler free as possible. I won’t give anymore away than you see in the trailer, which does in my opinion give away too much.
I didn’t catch this movie whilst it was at the cinema, it didn’t exactly grab me from it’s trailers and hardly stood out to me as a must see horror. Produced by Oren Peli, the man behind Paranormal Activity, Directed by James Wan (Saw) who is aided by his regular collaborator Leigh Whannell who provides the script and pops up in the movie. Even if you’re not a fan of their previous works, there’s no denying that both franchises have evolved modern horror movies.
It’s also worth noting that Insidious was made on a budget of $1.5 million, the First Saw was $1.2 and Paranormal Activity (part 1) was $17,000. So these guys are used to low budgets and huge returns. Their only exception being the 2007 film Dead Silence, which was actually pretty good but cost a whopping $20 million. The Saw boys are better working on small budgets and none of the Paranormal Activity sequels have cost more than $5 million.
I was willing to give it a go this Halloween weekend as a good friend recommended it, so a hot drink was made, the lights went out and I pressed play. From it’s jarring opening titles that almost scream the title at you, there is a distinctly 80’s feel about Insidious. It starts with a premise we have all seen a million times, family move into a new house and start seeing/hearing things, the husband or wife starts to think they’re crazy even though its all real and before you can say “The power of christ compels you” everyone is dead.
Credit to Insidious for being a little smarter than your average horror movie. Within the first half hour, a few creepy things start happening and they do the unthinkable and move out. How many times in a horror could all the unpleasantness have been avoided if they moved out of their new haunted home? Granted that would be a short movie, we all yield to some cliches in genre movies and maybe none more so than horror. It can be fun to predict where a film is going, but it’s better if the movie catches you off guard and Insidious certainly does that.
There are plenty of jumps and thankfully no gore, it’s great to see a horror not reliant on blood and guts. It’s not the pulse pounding terror feast, it’s unsettling and creates an uneasy atmosphere quite skillfully. The cast are solid and it’s quite neat that Barbara Hershey makes an appearance. Hershey starred in 80’s iconic horror movie The Entity, a horror film that clearly influenced the makers of Insidious.
The movie does take a bit of an odd turn for the third act, you’ll either go with it or you won’t but respect to them for going somewhere different and unexpected. If you’re a fan of the genre it’s worth watching, it’s further proof you don’t need a big budget to make a decent horror movie.