Sunday, January 4, 2015

Insidious (2010) Review:

Although director James Wan hasn't made multiple horror movies, his productions usually end being the next box office grab. Not only did he ignite the Saw (2004) franchise, but he also began his second franchise here with this film. It's not a surprise that this happened because of how much of an innate talent Wan has for making horror films. At first his focus was on insane people, then ghosts and now demons. The trend just keeps getting more supernatural. The story depicted is about a husband and wife that end up seeing their son go into a coma. As time goes on however, they begin to also notice strange events going on as well that for some reason deal with their sleeping son.

Rose Byrne & Patrick Wilson
As a narrative, the story is very solid. Leigh Whannell's writing not only makes its audience invest themselves in the characters but also in the new universe (The Further) that is given as well. Unfortunately, there is one drawback and that is, of which this new dimension, The Further is explained. Who discovered this dimension? How does one acquire the ability to enter and leave this particular area? These kinds of questions are rather significant when this specific plot point is the backbone of the story. Besides this, the writing is captivating enough that viewers may not have these questions on the tip of their tongues. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne both portray their characters nicely and develop off of each other from time to time. Ty Simpkins plays the child that is in the coma. Although Simpkins does not take part in much of dialog, his part is still a scary position to be in and when he does speak, he shows he can act.

The rest of the supporting cast is noteworthy too, of which writer Leigh Whannell is apart of. Along with him are Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye who all try to help the couple get their son to good health. The visual aspects to the film also worked in its favor. John R. Leonetti's cinematography helped with the atmosphere of the situation and definitely made good use of his visual style when entering The Further realm. Leonetti also had David M. Brewer work with him. My guess is since Brewer does not have many theatrical releases under his belt, Leonetti was giving him some professional advice and experience. The special/practical effects and horror elements to the film blend nicely too. James Wan also seems to be backpedaling when it comes to gore. Ever since Saw (2004), his other directorial films contain less and less blood. For gorehounds, they will be disappointed but gore isn't always needed to make these kinds of movies scary.

Everybody say CHEEZE
The scariest thing about this movie is two parts. The first part are the ghosts smiles, they are downright unnerving. The second is the demon played by musical composer Joseph Bishara. The makeup on him is terrifyingly well done. The only problem however is the way Bishara plays the demon. Originally, his minor appearances are extremely noteworthy. However later on, he's portrayed in somewhat of a campy fashion. Not sure if it was intentional or not but it lowers the terrifying quality of this character when initially his presence was so menacing. As for music, Bishara's composition is a totally different ball of wax. Right off the bat, like many other tracks composed by Bishara, audiences will be introduced to the shrieking strings. Despite that being his way of creating many of his tracks, Bishara actually composes a lot of other emotionally related themes that revolve around the family in the story. This shows that Bishara knows how to compose motifs that are easy on the ears no matter how simplistic and juvenile his other tracks may sound.

It has decent scares, believable acting, well-rounded music and a new story to tell that goes beyond the normal ghost stories told before. On the other hand, there are some key parts of information left out that are quite important to the back-story. Plus, some of the terrifying tension may be lost if one can't get past a particularly campy scene.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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