28 April 2011
In Insidious, Josh and Renai are young parents who move into a nice new house with their three kids. Their eldest, Dalton, falls asleep one night and doesn't wake up. Dalton is in a coma, or so it would seem, as weird paranormal gubbins starts to occur all around the house. Monsters and demons appear around every corner, and when even abandoning their new home doesn't work, Josh and Renai are forced to the conclusion that it was never the house that was haunted...
I personally haven't found myself as hyped up for a horror film as I was for Insidious since Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, two years ago. The trailers looked spooky and it's been gathering some pretty strong buzz since its Stateside release a few weeks ago. I was totally ready to see this film, and so maybe my problem is that, in the end, I was too prepared for it. Let that stand as a caveat to what follows.
Ohh, that score. Joseph Bishara turns in a score that's full of shrieking strings, deployed for the maximum effect throughout and really setting your teeth on edge. Wan doesn't turn his nose up at soundtrack jumps, but he never, ever, ever goes for the cheap scare. No cats jumping out, just pure, adrenalised horror. That includes the nice bit of soundtrack juxtaposition we get through his use of Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" at the bizarre and creepy sight of a demon boogying in Renai's living room. Frankly, were it not for the introduction of a pair of comic relief paranormal investigators, this film might have been perfect.
Those characters, played by Angus Sampson and screenwriter Leigh Whannell, aren't awful, but by their very definition, they provide relief from the tension. In all of the screeching horror assembled by the filmmakers, there's no point before their introduction that you're yearning for the Ghostbusters to turn up. And the Ghostbusters would have been better. On the other hand, there are strong performances by Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey, taking the material seriously and giving it their best. Additionally, Lin Shaye plays her psychic character with just the restraint that's needed, rather than hamming it up.
Insidious is playing in cinemas nationwide from tomorrow.
If you've seen Insidious, why not share your comments below?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.