HORRORFIED! INSIDIOUS – A Good, Old-Fashioned Ghost Story

Going into Insidious I didn’t have the highest of hopes.  I avoided the film in the theater, I guess the concept just didn’t appeal to me the way it was marketed.  This was my mistake, and one that I’ve made more than once.  The film frightened me.  I covered my face, peaked through my fingers, my breath caught in my throat and I admit I squealed several times.  Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannel got this one right.  Though the film is reminiscent at times of Amityville Horror or Poltergeist, it definitely has it’s own identity and story to tell.  Insidious is a film that sneaks up on you.

Insidious centers around a family who that their new home isn’t all they though it would be.   The family consists Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) and the three children; Foster (Andrew Astor), Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and their baby sister.  The focus of the story is on Dalton, the middle child, who seems to be the one that the darkness in the house is attracted to.  Initially we are unaware of special gifts that Dalton has and when the young boy goes into a sudden, unexplainable coma, his parents and doctors are at a loss as to what to do.  After three months of waiting he is brought home, and it becomes evident that the Lamberts are not alone in the house.  After a particularly frightening episode involving a baby monitor, the family picks up and moves, but then, as the tag line points out, it isn’t the house that is haunted.  Poor defenseless Dalton is the reason that these sinister things are happening, and the haunting continues even after the move.  When Josh’s mom, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) gets involved she brings in the help of old friend Elise (Lin Shaye) and things get scary, intense and otherworldly.

This film takes the genre of the supernatural, which gets to me the most; the spine tingling entities that you can’t see though they are responsible for strange, frightening occurences, out of place items and things that go bump in the night.  I am particularly susceptible to these things as I’m hyper-sensitive to all the little late night noises that don’t seem to come from anywhere in particular and I have a dog who shares my nervousness and barks at everything.  Insidious delves into psychic phenomena as well, with somewhat avant guard séances and a scene reminiscent of Stir of Echoes.  I will caution you though, if you have a baby monitor in use during the film, be prepared for a few nasty scares and for that thing to be your worst enemy for the rest of the night.  I watched Insidious not only with the monitor on, but also with random toys going off at inopportune times on their own, which certainly heightened the scare factor of the film.  Any horror film that incorporates children gets to  me on some level that nothing else can.  Some will argue that Insidious wasn’t scary enough, bloody enough and that the creatures didn’t have enough oomph! or fright factor to them, but I feel that it was the old-school nature of the scars that really made this film enjoyable.

Insidious seems to be tailor made for me as except for the extra kid, the cast of this movie is my family as it is right now.  This film was an enjoyable ride and the longer it sits with me, the more I am drawn into my thoughts on the film and my enjoyment of it grows.  I am still waiting for the next night on my own with my kids while my husband is out of the house.  As it is I don’t get minimal sleep on these nights, but next time I’ll be looking at my daughter sideways as she sleeps and I’m certain to be more than a little leery of the baby monitor.  All in all, I recommend Insidious as a less bloody, more chilling option to some of the overdone horror tales.

Insidious Chapter 2 is coming soon!  I am looking forward to seeing the next chapter of this film, especially since it was made with the original cast, and though I don’t have the highest of hopes for it, I will be seeing it in the theater.  There is nothing like being scared by the big screen, and had I seen the first chapter this way I can guarantee there would have been lots of screams coming from my general direction.  I just hesitate to be terribly optimistic after the horror sequels that I have become accustomed to over the past decade.

Are you going to see Insidious Chapter 2?  Tell us why or why not in the comments!

You can find Insidious on Amazon.com and Netflix Instant.  For more Screen Invasion horror movie coverage click here.  Follow @CatEdison and @ScreenInvasion on Twitter and ‘Like’ Screen Invasion on Facebook for the best contests and pop culture news!

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The Author

Cat Edison

Cat Edison

Cat is an Austinite once removed with an affinity for film, TV, comics, graphic novels, and really anything she can read or watch. She gets emotionally invested in movie, television and literary characters, to an unhealthy degree. Cat has always had a passion for writing and there is little she loves more. Hopeful cynic and funny lady.