Wow, I’m reminded straight away how October’s horrorfest can really bring out the worst in movies. Nothing is quite as bad as a horror film without any scares!
Insidious tries some new concepts and new imagery in a tired genre, but it collapses like a deflating balloon; comical and silly.
We see a family of five move into a new house only for one of their sons to fall into a coma, but when stranger things begin to happen around them they realise it is no ordinary coma, and that spirits and creatures from the ether are being drawn to the boy.
Perhaps its from seeing The Woman in Black this year, but Insidious is rife with laughable attempts at building tension and executing scares. Even the atmospheric, generic stuff that works as a prelude feels contrived; never before with a horror film have I felt like I was watching actors bumbling around in someone else’s house while a camera wobbles around behind them. Not this much!
Once things get… intense? No… “different” is a better word, you wonder where the Ghostbusters are at. Certainly two characters called in to investigate remind me exactly of Bill Murray wandering around with a squeezy bag and a hose pipe.
As for the “demon” that presents itself, I was hoping its initial goofiness would be balanced with an almost Hellraiser-esque ferocity in the film’s climax but nope… the film just keeps up the quirky blandness and the total absence of terror. He’s like something from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. For your information: apparently the best way to dispel evil creatures is to shout at them in a mildly annoyed tone, they don’t like that at all. You’d think a hell demon wouldn’t be so easily startled by harsh tones.
The characters are more two-dimensional than in most horrors, some of them are barely explained or even needed (the family’s daughter and other son seem to vanish midway through the film), and twists in the plot are predictable and textbook. The soundtrack is simply ghastly too; it shouts at you “You WILL find this scary!” OooooooOooo, EEK, EEK, EEK!
There are hundreds of more visually impacting and chilling films out there than Insidious, so don’t even bother with it unless you are morbidly curious. Even people with a nervous disposition will find it laughable.