Something a little bit different today, last night my girlfriend and I were trying to find a film to watch. We fancied a horror, but couldn’t find anything that interested enough. In the end we settled for a film from last year (2011) called Insidious.
I was a little bit sceptical at first. I do like my horror films, but I always find there is a fine line between what makes a good and a bad horror films. The bad ones through you in straight away not giving you a chance to feel for the characters at all and the horror is more at the situation the people are put in. Whereas a good horror film will spend a few minutes characterising so that when the horror starts happening you’re scared because you don’t want the characters to die.
That’s why I think the Saw films did quite well. No matter how much gore and blood featured in the film, in the end, the audience liked the character of Jigsaw and that’s why they kept coming back. It also explains why the series declined slightly after (SPOILER WARNING) Jigsaw died.
There is a third category for films to fall into that I like to call the “Paranormal Activity” category. This is the category where NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. I’ve seen two of the Paranormal Activities and I can honestly say I can’t remember a single interesting thing happening in them except a couple trying to make a sex tape.
So which category does Insidious fall in? Well, not the Paranormal Activity category, luckily. One of the early scenes is the heroine playing the piano and singing which is scarier than anything that happens in Paranormal Activity.
So the story SEEMS to be somewhat cliched. A couple are having a rough time of things, so they move to a new house for a fresh start. It starts to feel like the house is haunted, the woman gets scared, the man says she’s crazy until she starts getting hysterical and their son falls into a coma.
At first I thought the film was going to take an unexpected twist when the man (I can’t remember any of their names. I think the bloke was Josh, the son is Dalton and the girl was Renai…Renee? something like that) finally agrees to move out of the haunted house. It was at that point I was like “Oh? They move out of the haunted house? A little bit anti climatic, but at least it was original and much more realistic than them staying there”. But naturally, whatever is haunting them follows them.
I was really impressed by house they set the scene for this haunted house setting, then suddenly change it later. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it, but I will say it turns out that the house isn’t haunted. It’s actually something very different.
And of course, the “twist” ending could be seen coming a mile away.
Overall, not much scary about it though. At some points things would jump out at them in traditional horror style, doors would randomly close etc. I didn’t really find myself scared at any point, but I did find myself getting immersed in the story. A lot of effort went into creating something different with more originality than most horror films coming out at the moment. It’s not perfect by far. Not being scary is quite a handicap for a horror film.
I would like to see a sequel, maybe next year, with a similar story but with more horror aspects. Now that they have one film explaining their main selling point, a lot more of their next budget can go into set pieces. Personally, I am looking forward to Insidious 2 and may even be tempted to see it at the cinema, which’ll be the first time that’s happened in a long while.
7.5/10 – It takes a major hit for not being scary. However, I enjoyed it and I really liked the story, so it’s convinced me to be lenient. A good little waste of an hour and a half at least.