“It’s not the house that’s haunted. It’s your son.”
Really? Oh… well then! Since this is a haunted house blog, and because the house is not haunted, I guess this ends my review of Insidious. Great movie – no haunted house. Goodbye now!
Oh. You’re still here. In that case, I guess I should say a little more about this film. The quote that leads this review is from one of the film’s characters, Elise Rainer; a specialist in the field of paranormal arts. She and her team come to the aid of the Lambert family. Young Dalton Lambert (age 7? 8?) enters a coma of sorts. Shortly thereafter, freakish things from beyond the grave begin to prance around their houses (they live in two of them consecutively, moving from one to another in a futile attempt to flee from the ghosts). Elise informs the distraught parents, Josh and Renai, that their son is not in a coma. Dalton is an astral-traveler, she tells them. When he sleeps, his soul leaves his body to go on mystic, otherworldly voyages. However, during his last trip, he strays too far and enters “The Further” – a realm populated by evil spirits. Here he is trapped. At the same time, other spirits, both evil and neutral, sense the soulless body lying there in the bed. They crave it! To inhabit such a body is to taste life once again. This is why there have been a lot of ghosts hanging around both of the Lambert’s residences. It matters not which house they live in; Josh and Renai have a haunted little boy.
Wow, I dug pretty deeply into the plot, didn’t I? I hope I haven’t unearthed too many spoilers. I’m guessing I have not, not by IMDB’s standards anyway. After all, their one-sentence summary is:
A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further
Now, isn’t that sentence packed with a whole lot of plot?
Anyway, I will reveal no more plot intricacies. I will say that this is a great film. It is one of the better horror movies of the modern age. And though, technically, it’s not the houses that are haunted, this film has all the makings of a good haunted house flick. Before the coma tragedy and the hauntings that follow, the family goes through the normal concerns of adjusting to a new home. Isn’t this how many haunted house films begin? Insidious certainly has the haunted house props. The first house has a tall staircase and a spooky attic. The second has a long hallway with a grandfather clock at the hallway’s end that sort of stands in an eerie spotlight. There are plenty of places for ghostly beings to hide. Creating such hiding places in suburban homes seems to be one of specialties of Director James Wan. As he does for Insidious so does he do for The Conjuring. (Hint: “The hide-and-seek clap game.” Still confused? Well then, watch The Conjuring or read my review of it here.) The styles of both films (and the sequel – Conjuring 2) are very similar, and pleasingly so. Oh, and I must not fail to mention the baby monitors! Witness the terror a mother goes through when she hears voices inside a room this is supposed to be occupied only by her innocent baby!
There are only two things that annoy me about this film. These “things” are known as “Specs” and “Tucker”. They are the two nerdish assistants of Elise Rainer. They constantly try to outdo each other with their skills as paranormal specialists. I get it – they are there for comedic relief. But I found their shenanigans distracting. For me their comedy went against the flow of the film.
Nerdy technicians aside, I love this film. It is creepy in its subtly and bold with its shocks. A must see for any horror fan.