Movie of the Week: Insidious (2011)

Creepy dude behind Nightowl

Last year (I still love being able to say ‘last year’ in connection with this blog) I presented a five film Halloween DVD of the Week Extravaganza… this year I will spend the month of October dedicated to the horror genre.  Granted, horror is very much an “eye of the beholder” sort of genre… some like slasher pics, others monster movies… some like psychological thrillers, others torture porn… me, I tend to steer clear of most slasher and torture porn these days.  I have a hard time with the whole “let’s think of how many fucked up ways we can come up with for killing people”.  If that is your bag, you may not find much from me this month… if you enjoy some supernatural, monster (and I include zombies in monster), or thriller type films, then I hope you will enjoy October here at Mr. Blahg.

My first selection is this year’s sleeper hit, Insidious.  What surprised me the most about this film is that I found a PG-13 horror film genuinely creepy and scary.  I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to PG-13 horror… if it’s OK for a 13 year old to see, chances are I won’t be frightened… and at this point, it is not an easy thing to frighten me.  I didn’t shit myself with Insidious… but it has a number of jumpy moments that get the heart racing… and manages to do that with nothing more than some crafty editing and an interesting story.  Plus, seeing what has happened to Barbara Hershey as the ravages of time have taken there toll was a bit horrific in its own way.

The movie opens as the Lambert family is moving into a new house.  Patrick Wilson, who seems to be great in everything he does… even crap-fests like Passengers, is Josh… father to Dalton, married to Renai (Rose Byrne in what must be her umpteenth million role this year)… as they are moving in and Dalton is investigating the attic, he falls off a ladder, bonks his head and doesn’t wake up the next morning.  The doctors can’t explain why he is in this coma… then the fun begins.

Renai begins seeing something… someone… in Dalton’s room.  Josh doesn’t believe her until his mother (Hershey) admits to having seen someone/thing as well.  They begin the standard priest/medium route of figuring out whether or not this is a haunted house… until they move.

Problem solved, right?  Isn’t that always the goofiest part of haunted house movies… just leave dumbasses!  So, they do.  Unfortunately, it’s not the house that is being inundated with demons and boogeymen… it’s Dalton himself.

All of that is basically covered in the trailer, so I don’t feel as though I’m spoiling… and I won’t say anything further regarding plot.  What I will mention, is that Mrs. Blahg “watched” it with me… and by “watched” I mean, saw some of the movie through her fingers as she continually found herself covering her face and being terrified of what was going to happen next.  Let’s just say there are a number of things that go “bump” and a number of quick images that do more to make you feel uncomfortable and uneasy in twenty four frames than most films can squeeze out of a reel.

Directed by James Wan, the man behind the first Saw film (which I think was brilliant… only to be undermined by subsequent torture porn sequels that don’t resemble the original in any way, shape or form), he knows exactly how to elicit a good fright with a very economical style.  There is very little in the way of graphic scares, most of it takes place in what we can’t see… with an exception or two.

So, if you are planning for a great and frightening Halloween this year… start getting yourself in the mood early.   Put the kids to bed… dim the lights… cuddle up with someone you love… and give Insidious a watch.  The frights will pick up as the month progresses… but this is a good start.

Only 25 days left until Halloween,
Cornelius J. Blahg (a.k.a. Count Blahgula)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *