Director: James Wan
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Angus Sampson, Johnny Yong Bosch, Kimberly Ables Jindra, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor
RunTime: 1 hr 42 mins
Released By: GV & Clover Films
Rating: NC-16 (Horror & Some Frightening Scenes)
Official Website: http://www.insidious-movie.com/
Opening Day: 26 May 2011
Synopsis: "Insidious" is the terrifying story of a family who shortly after moving discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realize that it was not their house that was haunted.
This is going to make you think that this columnist is a scaredy cat, but he is going to say it anyway – This review was written in bright daylight. What? No way was he going to risk his life by penning a horror movie review (one that is helmed by James Wan, that is) in the dark. Who can make sure that there is no creepy little kid peering at him from under the table? Who is going to guarantee that there is no old lady with frizzy hair hanging from his wall? Who can ensure that there is no fiery faced devil looking at him type from outside the window?
No, it doesn’t matter that he stays on the tenth floor of a supposedly safe HDB flat in Singapore. You just never know what may happen, especially given the subject matter of this freaking good horror picture.
Director Wan teams up with his Saw collaborator Australian screenwriter Leigh Whannell for this haunted house movie. Coming together for the thrill ride is Paranormal Activity writer director Oren Peli, who takes on the role of the producer on this movie. If that’s not a draw for horror seeking fans, we don’t know what is. Without spoiling the fun, let’s just say that the movie is about a couple who tries all means and ways to prevent evil spirits from taking over their house and their comatose son.
The first two thirds of this 102 minute movie are chillingly good, boasting of unsettling scenes and creepy atmospheres which will have timid audiences crouching in fear. There are spine chilling shocks and disquieting scares that never feel cheap or exploitative. There are also no gross out sequences which feature blood and innards, so fans of the Saw franchise may feel a tad disappointed (it’s only rated NC16 for Horror and Some Frightening Scenes).
The disconcerting sense of suffocation is a result of David M Brewer and John R Leonetti’s effective cinematography. Cloaked in ominous shades of grey and blue, there is something about the film that feels overpowers its viewers with ill omen. Joseph Bishara’s minimalist score also complements the mood of the movie, making the whole viewing experience deliciously spine chilling.
The filmmakers have assembled a cast which delivers decent performances. Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later) play the couple whose lives are turned upside down, no thanks to these spirits from the other world. Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) and Lin Shaye (My Sister’s Keeper) lend weight to the movie with their portrayals of a mother and a medium who deals with paranormal activity. Whannell himself takes on the role of a paranormal investigator, together with Angus Sampson (I Love You Too) to provide the occasional moments of comic relief.
Every horror movie needs a frightened child who looks frightening at the same time. Here, we get Ty Simpkins (The Next Three Days) who is prominently featured on the promotional poster.
There is an obligatory twist at the end of this movie which slightly spoils the initial fun that was so nicely set up. However, the last third of the roller coaster ride should satisfy audiences who are comforted by closures and explanations. Whatever it is, this columnist is glad that this review is coming to an end, just before the sun sets. He doesn’t want any being from the other world gazing at him from anywhere in his room.
(We dare you to stare into the dark corner of the cinema hall during the end credits of this creepily satisfying movie)
Review by John Li