ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

001979
Search by title # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Insidious (2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: James Wan

Starring:
Rose Byrne/Renee
Patrick Wilson/Josh
Barbara Hershey/Lorrainne
Lin Shaye/Elise
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A middle class couple (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) with brats in tow just moved into a new a house and guess what, its haunted up the wazoo. One of their kids (Ty Simpkins) is eventually put in peril and they have to find a way to save his ass.
THE LOWDOWN

NOTE 1: This is a review of the cut shown at the 2010 Sitges Film Fest. The film has been re-cut since this review (I was told that my review actually helped in terms of finalizing the final cut). Keep that in mind when reading.
NOTE 2: I finally saw the final cut and lots of my peeves were addressed. The comic relief was toned down and so was the rocker dude (who got CGd in the face, hence he fit with the whole more). Good shit!

From an outside point of view, Director James Wan and Screenwriter Leigh Whannell have had interesting careers. They of course crashed the scene with the indie chiller SAW, which went on to spawn the highest grossing horror franchise of all time. They then followed up with DEAD SILENCE, which sported awesome visuals and creepiness galore but had Studio interference written all over it, DEATH SENTENCE was next (with Whannell solely acting in it), a flick that got little support from its Studio in terms of marketing (lets face it, the mofo was dumped in the middle of the street like an STD ridden whore who can't suck no more) and now they have come full circle, back to their Indie roots with INSIDIOUS, a more modest effort budget wise than the last 2 Studio flicks, one that was made with full creative control lodged firmly in their jock straps. And ya know what... it showed and paid off in spades!

INSIDIOUS started off with a dazzling Kubrick-esque crane shot that sucked me right into its macabre world off the bat and then went on to tip its hat to one of my favorite horror films of all time, POLTERGEIST by taking a credible and likable family unit and slapping them in a house with ghostly shenanigans and having one particular child be in mortal danger. For the first 45 minutes or so, Wan went buck nuts with nifty visuals and the fear tactics, using the minimal (like door opening by themselves, spooky figures, chilling sounds) to put me through the ringer. Its like the old saying, sometimes less is more and in this case it applied hardcore. Although not every fear ploy got me, INSIDIOUS had enough ringers to have me hopping and squirming in my seat like a dude that ate way too many re-fried filled tacos. It was definitely the scariest movie of the year for me. The way Wan set up his fear set pieces, generated tension and to then knee me in the sack with brrr inducing payoffs was gold to say the least. Much like Mother's Day was SAW alumni Darren Bousman's more mature film, INSIDIOUS proved that Wan has learned a lot over the years; he had a firm grasp on what worked when it came to nailing the right fear beats. Acting wise, you could not have asked for a better cast. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne were fantastic as the everyday couple, coming off as endearing while sharing an organic chemistry together. Shit, Wilson almost had me man-bitch tearing up at some point. Solid! Some of the supporting cast stood out as well. Ty Simpkins as the main little tot sold me hardcore, a child actor to keep tabs on and it was a delight to see the affable Lin Shaye in such a restrained role. Taking into account the type of part it was, she easily could have taken the “kooky” highway, but she didn't, instead she played it grounded, letting her eyes and intensity do the talking. In my opinion, she gave the performance of her career thus far. Damn I love that dame!

But what set INSIDIOUS apart from say POLTERGEIST and other films of its ilk was that at a certain point Whannell and Wan, decided to go against conventions to leap into wild and fresh directions. Its funny, cause when you take a subgenre like the haunted house film, we as an audience have been conditioned to expect certain things. And when a movie, such as this badboy, goes against the grain, your brain takes a longer time to process it. I had to take some time to digest INSIDIOUS afterward, to figure out how I felt about its choices. And after much boozing and verbally abusing the random people around me, I finally figured out where I stood...I loved it. Look at the big balls on Wan! The second half of the film took to me to places that I had never been and armed with a unique off kilter attitude, it made for quite the memorable horrocoaster ride. As you may have noticed, I have tried to be vague during this review, not to spoil shit, but i will say this, the main red faced villain, when all was said and done, so stood out for me. Talk about a an out there baddie! Rooted in folklore, but yet, rocked up! Loved the makeup, loved the out there M.O. and yes IT scared the f*ck out of me. Add to all that; deliciously bleak cinematography, striking set designs, an eerie/bleak, piano oriented score by Joseph Bishara that did wonders for the film, Barbara Hershey showing up to class the joint up (nod to THE ENTITY...or maybe BEACHES... who knows?) and a finale that snapped my neck like a celery stick dipped in Cheese-wiz and you get a horror film that yes, built its foundation off conventions, but then dropped acid and did its own TRIP OUT thing.

Any peeves? Yes but not many. There was so much going in this story that I sometimes felt the flick rushed through things, its rare for me to say this, but i wished it was 15 minutes longer, so that all the bases were covered 100%. And was I alone in thinking that the long haired, metal band singer ghost totally stood out like a sore clit? Every time that dude popped up, it would take me out of the movie for some reason. Just didn't "fit" within the whole. Finally, this is a personal qualm, but when I watch a horror haunted house movie, the less comic relief the better. So when the paranormal investigators kicked in (although very well played by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson), they loosened the noose around my neck with their goofy antics. I didn't want that noose to go loose, I wanted it to rip my head off. But hey that's just me. The good news is that as the end credits rolled, I got destroyed anyways. INSIDIOUS was the movie I've been looking for the last 3 months or so. One that has NATHING to do with rape or torture; a freaking ghost story with a twist and a boldness in going where no other ghost flicks have gone before. ENGAGE!

GORE
Other than some light blood, nothing graphic here. The film was about suspense, gore was not in this one's panties.
T & A
I was naked during the screening, does that count?
BOTTOM LINE
INSIDIOUS was the flipside of SAW in the sense that it relied on mood, tension and a refreshing less is more attitude. And when it went “all out”; it had nothing to do with gore; it was all about chilling looking entities, wild set designs and pass the bong ideas that worked me right. Granted the comic relief didn't do it for me, if you have me by the balls, don't let go... crush them to dust and snort them... and that Goth rock spooker felt like he was in the wrong movie, but other than that I was a happy camper. INSIDIOUS took the classic haunted house set up, winked at POLTERGEIST and then put its boulders on the table and took chances. Think a mainstream horror film with the soul of an auteur piece. May not work for everybody, but it worked for me. Booya!
BULL'S EYE
The rocker ghost was played by J. LaRose of SAW 3, SAW 4 and MOTHER'S fame.

The flick cost about $1,000,000 to make.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+0
2:56PM on 08/26/2011

Great First Half!

Just watched it last night. I thought the first half was great. Lots of atmosphere, tension and decent scares. I did think that there wasn't enough detail surrounding Dalton's 'coma' and it just felt rushed. Beyond that, the first half was good. The second half it became silly and I began to lose interest and giggle at the so called scary parts. When the land lady from Kingpin put on the modified gas mask I lost it. The ending was a bullshit cop out and pretty much ruined the film for
Just watched it last night. I thought the first half was great. Lots of atmosphere, tension and decent scares. I did think that there wasn't enough detail surrounding Dalton's 'coma' and it just felt rushed. Beyond that, the first half was good. The second half it became silly and I began to lose interest and giggle at the so called scary parts. When the land lady from Kingpin put on the modified gas mask I lost it. The ending was a bullshit cop out and pretty much ruined the film for me. Overall it was okay but easily forgettable.

Insidious on par with The Exorcist??? Sure, maybe if you've never actually watched The Exorcist. Otherwise, hell no!
Your Reply:



3:52AM on 07/20/2011
This was the most frightening flick since "[REC]". Eerie and chilling. Wan and Whannell are a great duo and really know the genre.
I didn't have a problem with any of the film's acts, and I think it had quite a lingering sense of dread (I'm still creeped out by it, and I watched it last week)
This was the most frightening flick since "[REC]". Eerie and chilling. Wan and Whannell are a great duo and really know the genre.
I didn't have a problem with any of the film's acts, and I think it had quite a lingering sense of dread (I'm still creeped out by it, and I watched it last week)
Your Reply:



12:10AM on 04/14/2011
alright so i just saw Insidious...from the trailer i expected great things...but wow..it turned out to be the most fun ive had at the movies in years! easily the most terryfing film ive ever seen.Im not someone who easily gets scared, the only film that genuinely scared me was the exorcist 3. But insidious had me by the balls... to the point where my brother and i were so overwhelmed by terror we had to start laughing...it was a nightmare! Great cast, excellent camera work, tension like never
alright so i just saw Insidious...from the trailer i expected great things...but wow..it turned out to be the most fun ive had at the movies in years! easily the most terryfing film ive ever seen.Im not someone who easily gets scared, the only film that genuinely scared me was the exorcist 3. But insidious had me by the balls... to the point where my brother and i were so overwhelmed by terror we had to start laughing...it was a nightmare! Great cast, excellent camera work, tension like never before!i had no clue James Wan had it in him to create a horror masterpiece like this. 10/10 much respect!

....the dissapointment that was dead silence means nothing to me now...insidious on par with the exorcist
Your Reply:



11:44PM on 04/09/2011
Ugh. The first half of this film was great. Slow build, tension out the wazoo, some great scares......and then it shits the bed. Once we reach the whole "The Further" BS the film rapidly devolves into another over-wrought teeny bop ghost story. Coulda, woulda, shoulda but didn't.
Ugh. The first half of this film was great. Slow build, tension out the wazoo, some great scares......and then it shits the bed. Once we reach the whole "The Further" BS the film rapidly devolves into another over-wrought teeny bop ghost story. Coulda, woulda, shoulda but didn't.
Your Reply:



10:42PM on 04/09/2011
INSIDIOUS freaked the hell outta of me. And it takes a lot to do that in a movie.

So far, this just replaced 'Paul' as my favorite movie of 2011.
INSIDIOUS freaked the hell outta of me. And it takes a lot to do that in a movie.

So far, this just replaced 'Paul' as my favorite movie of 2011.
Your Reply:



10:52PM on 04/04/2011

More Like This Please!

It was clever and went in a different direction than I expected, which I enjoyed because it kept me in suspense. There were plenty of scares. I was only marginally let down by its predictable conclusion.
It was clever and went in a different direction than I expected, which I enjoyed because it kept me in suspense. There were plenty of scares. I was only marginally let down by its predictable conclusion.
Your Reply:



10:14AM on 04/04/2011

DAAAAMN

This movie was SCARY. No bullshit, I haven't been SCARED by a movie in a long time. This shit freaked me out, i've been telling everyone to see it. I can't get this movie out of my mind. I just may go see it again today! I NEEDED a great horror movie. So awesome!
This movie was SCARY. No bullshit, I haven't been SCARED by a movie in a long time. This shit freaked me out, i've been telling everyone to see it. I can't get this movie out of my mind. I just may go see it again today! I NEEDED a great horror movie. So awesome!
Your Reply:



1:51AM on 04/04/2011

Dug it

Creepy and atmospheric, the way I love my ghost movies! Every jump scare got me good, and the more subtle type scares got me too.

I will disagree with you on the comic relief. I never felt those guys went too over the top (well, OK, except for the action figure bit) and were likeable. I believe some horror movies can allow for some of that, as long as they don't go too far.
Creepy and atmospheric, the way I love my ghost movies! Every jump scare got me good, and the more subtle type scares got me too.

I will disagree with you on the comic relief. I never felt those guys went too over the top (well, OK, except for the action figure bit) and were likeable. I believe some horror movies can allow for some of that, as long as they don't go too far.
Your Reply:



+0
10:15PM on 04/02/2011

Inshittyous

Fuck that shit! This film was awful after the first 20 min. It started out fine (loved the Baby monitor) but after that it turned in to a shit burger. Ghost world stuff was just Awful. AWFUL!!! I was rolling my eyes at most of it.Arrow stated that the film had to go aginst the grain. I guess that means the makers of the film said 'Shit we are making a pretty good film here. lets go against the grain of good films and make a shitty one" This is what passes as scary nowadays??? I am going back
Fuck that shit! This film was awful after the first 20 min. It started out fine (loved the Baby monitor) but after that it turned in to a shit burger. Ghost world stuff was just Awful. AWFUL!!! I was rolling my eyes at most of it.Arrow stated that the film had to go aginst the grain. I guess that means the makers of the film said 'Shit we are making a pretty good film here. lets go against the grain of good films and make a shitty one" This is what passes as scary nowadays??? I am going back and watch The Haunting!!!!


Someone here said Clever tributes to the Shining and Poltergeist. Fuck that It just took the whole story of Poltergeist, minus the Burial ground.
Your Reply:



11:28PM on 04/01/2011

Nearly flawless ghost horror movie.

After seeing this today with an nearly packed audiences. The audiences were loving every minute of this movie, they screamed and they were acutally terrified at times, which it is so hard to get scared in a movie these days.

"Insidious" is very well acted, extremely well directed by James Wan (Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Saw), some real eerie sequences with surprisingly refreshing sense of humour.

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell (Who wrote "Saw") brings scares, thrills, suspense and
After seeing this today with an nearly packed audiences. The audiences were loving every minute of this movie, they screamed and they were acutally terrified at times, which it is so hard to get scared in a movie these days.

"Insidious" is very well acted, extremely well directed by James Wan (Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Saw), some real eerie sequences with surprisingly refreshing sense of humour.

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell (Who wrote "Saw") brings scares, thrills, suspense and humour. Director Wan and Screenwriter Whannell (Who appears in a amusing supporting role) makes this movie looks fresh with old fashinoned chills. They certainly make up for the lack of the originality. Since they give clever tribute to other supernatural movies like "The Shining", "Poltergeist" and others.

Don't miss seeing this one at the big screen.
Your Reply:



6:35PM on 04/01/2011

That Jimmy Wan

I really liked this film. Great review too. I saw the film on Tuesday and its now Friday. I'm still getting jitters from that film. One thing that I was concerned about was the chalk drawing of Billy The Puppet (brought me back to high-school when I drew him on every blackboard the same way). There was an "8" underneath the drawing. Is Jimmy wan trying to say something to the viewers?

I love that trademark as well. Always gotta look out for Billy The Puppet in Wan films.
I really liked this film. Great review too. I saw the film on Tuesday and its now Friday. I'm still getting jitters from that film. One thing that I was concerned about was the chalk drawing of Billy The Puppet (brought me back to high-school when I drew him on every blackboard the same way). There was an "8" underneath the drawing. Is Jimmy wan trying to say something to the viewers?

I love that trademark as well. Always gotta look out for Billy The Puppet in Wan films.
Your Reply:



1:19PM on 04/01/2011

Good spooky fun but not up to the hype.

I liked Insidious but didn't love it. I agree the first 2/3 really were scary and delivered the goods. But once the paranormal team showed up things got a bit hokey to me and it lost it's grip somewhat. While the final act was well directed and I liked the visual design of what we see, I didn't really think it was as scary or suspenseful as the rest of the movie. Yes, it was still spooky but, not nearly as intense as the first 2/3. And I do agree the ending was a bit abrupt. Overall, a fun and
I liked Insidious but didn't love it. I agree the first 2/3 really were scary and delivered the goods. But once the paranormal team showed up things got a bit hokey to me and it lost it's grip somewhat. While the final act was well directed and I liked the visual design of what we see, I didn't really think it was as scary or suspenseful as the rest of the movie. Yes, it was still spooky but, not nearly as intense as the first 2/3. And I do agree the ending was a bit abrupt. Overall, a fun and spooky flick with some intense scares early on.It just looses it's grip somewhat when it starts to show us too much.
Your Reply:



10:30PM on 10/13/2010

F***IN' Scary!

I totally agree with your review Arrow. Saw this at TIFF last month and so far has been the scariest film of the year.
I totally agree with your review Arrow. Saw this at TIFF last month and so far has been the scariest film of the year.
Your Reply:



Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Mistress Of The Week

More
Green, Eva