Staff movie picks to liven up your week: “Insidious”
I could close my eyes, hold my breath and still feel the horror seep through my bones. “Insidious” scared the living bejesus out of me. The film is extremely vivid, with its razor-sharp widescreen cinematography capturing every nuance of the fog-enshrouded sets.
Directed by James Wan (“Saw”) and produced by Oren Peli (“Paranormal Activity”), “Insidious” tells the story of the Lambert family, teacher Josh (Patrick Wilson), his wife Renai (Rose Byrne), and three kids who move into a new home to pursue their individual interests.
The house (reminiscent of the one in “Poltergeist,” starts exhibiting signs of paranormal activity, with the ever-popular creaky floorboards, swaying doors, missing boxes and a dripping faucet.
Lin Shaye plays the psychic exorcist, who has been brought in to evaluate the situation. Her character’s dramatic intensity pushes the film to this realm of sheer menacing excitement that keeps you riveted to your set. Wan uses this character as well as the imagery of bloody handprints on the bed to move this film from a mere haunted house thriller to a demonic possession masterpiece.
Wan, who is best known for his severed limbs, sexual torture scenes and other forms of gore, seems to bring us back to such classic hits as the 1962 low budget film “Carnival of Souls.” The subtle transformation in style is what gives this movie its scare horror value versus Wan’s usual blood-fest of severed limbs.
Comedic relief was brought in by way of three characters, the mother-in-law (Barbara Hershey), and her two constantly bickering unkempt sidekicks (Angus Sampson a “Saw” alumni himself, Leigh Whannell). Their brief exchanges of levity provide a breather from the demonic images that prevail onscreen.
One must take note that “Insidious” will not have you tearing out your hair and running for the door in terror, but serves to remind us that horror doesn’t always have to involve graphic depictions of people hanging by hooks, or some form of dismemberment. Wan took this 95 minute movie and brought back the love of this genre. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.