Insidious hates the idea of you sleeping and wants to put a stop to that shit right away. It knows you have no choice but to watch it at night since you don’t want to be branded a pussy by all of your friends. It also knows that by the time the credits roll, you’re going to turn on every light in the house when you head to the bathroom to brush your teeth. Then you’ll be lying there in bed, silently debating whether it’s ok for a grown man or woman to turn a lamp on and keep it on for the remainder of the night.
I know all this, because my wife and I just went through all this following our midnight viewing of Insidious last night. I wanted to write this review as even just a warning to those of you who are flirting with the idea of watching it. Don’t get me wrong, I think you should absolutely watch this movie. In addition to the fright factor it’s also a really well done movie. I just also feel you should be prepared to call your manhood into question when you’re finding yourself making excuses for why you’re not actually looking at the screen.
Insidious comes from the same two guys, Leigh Whannel and James Wan, who brought us the original Saw. They are also behind Dead Silence, a movie I recently revisited only to discover that it scares the absolute shit out of me, and Death Sentence, an under-rated Death Wish-esque thriller starring Kevin Bacon. With Insidious they provide their take on the haunted house genre, showing us that often what you don’t see is the most terrifying of all. They also show us that the shit we do see is fucking terrifying as well.
As the perceptive among you have already picked up on, I found this movie to be a little on the frightening side. Without delving into the plot too much (I will say that the story is far more engaging that I ever anticipated), within about 10 minutes of the movie starting, ghosts happen. From there on out this movie is absolutely relentless. You know how with even the scariest movies you have times where you know it’s safe and you can take a breather? Like when the characters are sitting together in the kitchen and enjoying a coffee at 9 AM on a sunny day? That’s when you take a breath and rest comfortably. Except Insidious don’t play that shit. There is literally never a moment where you can feel safe. Something could, and almost always does, happen at anytime no matter the circumstances.
What I will give Insidious infinite credit for is that it never goes for the false jump scares. There’s never a moment where a character is in the car and all of a sudden BWOM! “Oh god is it a monster?! Oh no it’s just my neighbor banging on my car window in a manner that no human being would ever do in real life”. No in this movie when a jump scare happens, it’s because something actually creepy is happening. There’s no characters bumping into lamps and screaming. Here they bump into dead children or fire demons, which I feel are both way more frightening than a lamp that is just standing there.
Something else I wasn’t expecting before watching this was the educational aspect to Insidious. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to ever deal with any of this shit ever. Since apparently simply not having kids at all is not an option, my wife and I had ourselves a discussion I think ever married couple needs to have at the start of their marriage – how are we going to handle things once the ghosts start bugging us? I can’t tell you how much better I feel now that we’ve ironed out all of the details. We have a code word so I know when she tells me that say a man was standing on the ceiling that she is being completely serious. I know at what point I can just say “fuck this” and bail completely. I also know that as soon as anyone says “I saw something in the attic” we will immediately burn the house to the ground and move across the country. It feels good man, I feel prepared now.
Insidious does have a surprisingly good story and some really solid performances to back it up, but what I need to really stress here is that this movie is actually terrifying. I know there are people out there who are all “pft, I don’t get how people could have found this scary”. Guess what, they are lying to you. They most likely had a good amount of pee in their pants while they were saying those lies. So grab some popcorn, and then immediately put it back down because you will be so damn scared by this movie that eating it will be the last thing on your mind.