// Darth Maul has a new job terrorising the souls of small kids.
Made on a microbudget of about $4.00 dollars (or maybe $1.5 million dollars depending on whether you believe me or more reputable publications) Insidious has become the most profitable film of 2011, taking as much as $90 million in the worldwide box office. Apparently when you take the talents of Jason Blum, Oren Peli and Steven Schneider (that chaps behind the equally low-budget – Paranormal Activity) and throw them into the ring with director James Wan, who you’ll remember from the Saw franchise, you end up with a product more popular than donkey rides at the beach or courtesy reach-a-rounds in Soho, depending on your persuasion.
The result? Well, having only seen one of the Saw movies, it’s not really my bag and one was enough, and having watched Paranormal Activity with my sex pest flat mate Tommy who spent the entire time hiding behind a cushion, my exposure to the afore-mentioned production team has been somewhat limited. However, whilst this genre isn’t high on my priority list I think this is a bold movie and sets off my great intentions even if it wobbles like a pensioner on a bouncy castle about three-quarters of the way through. Allow me to explain…
The movie focuses on a young family who after moving house make a terrifying discovery. A discovery that not even science can explain. After some over exuberant house inspection their younger son is put into a coma and his body becomes a magnet for evil entities like an unguarded donut at a fat camp. His soul becomes trapped in a world known as ‘The Further.’ Do his parents have what it takes to bring him back? (This is the point where you get off your buttocks and head for the nearest cinema).
This movie undoubtedly draws comparisons with the work of Sam Raimi, notably Drag Me to Hell, which was one of the few horror movies I actually paid cold hard cash for. Like, Drag Me to Hell, Insidious has a unique blend of horror and humour, but with the humour done in such a way that is doesn’t detract from the on-screen chills. The film is led by two excellent performances by Patrick Wilson, whom I have a newfound respect for, and Rose ‘soon to be in X-Men: First Class’ Byrne. The later really striding out as a mother who is at the point of giving up when it appears her son will be in a coma forever. The rest of the cast is also very solid, but special mention must go to Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell who provide the comedic relief.
The film has some genuinely horrifying and scary moments, so if you are looking for those, feel free to ignore the rest of the analysis. The red-faced demon is fantastic (even if he does look like a recycled Darth Maul from Stars Wars Episode 1) and definitely did some damage to some of the pacemakers in the audience. Add into the mixer a few ghosts and apparitions causing havoc, it’s a good job I packed a spare pair of pants. However, with that said the movie is by no means flawless. When Patrick Wilson is called upon to go and save his son, the movie changes and loses it’s well constructed brassiere of tension. It ends up a bit too “mmm this is getting a bit silly,” but equally that’s the case for most horror films, so I’ll let it slide. The ending is strong and punchy and reminded me of well established theatre production, The Woman in Black, which, even though I’ve seen five times, always has me crying like child by the end of the performance. The conclusion of Insidious, whilst predictable, is extremely well executed.
I wouldn’t say that this was the catalyst to make me throw all caution to the wind and begin a fast, hasty domination of all the so-called ‘must see’ horror movie titles I haven’t bothered to watch yet, but it certainly maintained my interest for a couple of hours. The movie may have been made with less money than a weekly wage for a Premiership footballer, but it doesn’t show. Touché gentlemen. If you can still bust out efforts like this with Hollywood chump change, then I look forward to your future ventures.
Insidious arrives in Australia on May 12.
The Insidious Facebook Page can be eyed up and down here – www.facebook.com/InsidiousFilm
Official Site – Click HERE
I would like to personally thank ICON and Visual Jazz for their blogger outreach. I just wish more studios were as good at responding to those who are interested in their products…
Thanks for reading