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Insidious (2010)

insidious movie poster

Insidious (2010) – A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

I always try to avoid spoilers on my site. With a film like Insidious it was trickier than usual for some reason. I’ve tried to go into the plot and summarise what went down here just enough to whet your appetite if you haven’t already seen it. It may sound a little crazy, but just bear with me here, Insidious is more than worthy of your time.

Cast wise, there’s Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson), the dad, whose job as a teacher demands him to work long hours. Renai (Rose Byrne), the mother, has all-but-given up a song-writing career to raise their young children. The family has recently moved into a new house. Josh, despite being a loving and attentive husband and father when he’s around, is spending longer hours than ever away from home, and Renai is becoming increasingly run-down from the difficulties of setting up the new house and caring for the kids.

Rose Byrne & Patrick Wilson as The Lambert's

Rose Byrne & Patrick Wilson as The Lambert’s

Tragedy strikes when one of their children Dalton falls from a ladder in the attic and hits his head, and then slips into a coma during the night. Three months later, the situation has not changed. As bad as circumstances with Dalton are, things continue to get worse for the Lambert’s. Strange noises, movements and voices heard through a baby monitor convince Renai that the house is haunted, and whatever is causing the haunting is a malevolent force.

A scene from INSIDIOUS released on the 6th May 2011

It was really nice to see them act intelligently, which is a rarity. When, after one particularly bad night in the house, Renai announces that they must leave, that’s what they do. They get help. They consult experts. We respect the characters because, for the most part, they respond as we might in their circumstances. The experts in this case are an exorcist (Lin Shaye) and her two bungling assistants (Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell) who are called in to cast out the demons. They do a few tests and then explain that Dalton’s spirit has wandered into an otherworldly existence called ‘The Further’ and other spirits are now trying to climb into his body. I’ll stop there with plot details as this is a movie that will surprise you and is best going into with as little knowledge as possible.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in my opinion James Wan is the most exciting director working in the horror genre. He is on directing duty here for Insidious, and his inventive use of camera angles which include hand-held and point-of-view shots draws the viewer into the story. Very different to the fast cuts from his Saw days. Working from a screenplay by Leigh Whannell (who co-wrote Saw with Wan and has a supporting role here) he proves that he doesn’t need the blood and viscera to generate psychological horror. Combined with the fact that it is produced by Paranormal Activity writer and director Oren Peli, it’s a very strong team working behind this movie.

insidious gas mask

Insidious is a scary movie. Pretty remarkable considering it has a PG-13 rating (15 here in the UK) but proof films aiming at the younger demographic can still provide frights. The ‘jump-scare‘ moments, which are numerous, are expertly crafted and aren’t as cheap or theatrical as is sometimes the case in horror movies. Bloody handprints are found on Dalton’s bed and faces appear in the windows almost nightly. The music score really sets things up, and even when nothing happens the music had me on the edge of my seat in anticipation.

insidious witch

Everyone puts in a fantastic performance. As our leads, Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson are perfect and whilst the ghost-busting duo later on provide the laughs, it does get a little far-fetched towards the end. Crazy even. And whilst some critics have said the films starts well but finishes poorly, I have to disagree. I think it is solid all the way through, and even when the couple find out what is wrong with their child, the film kept going to places that maybe shouldn’t work but they did for me. I loved Insidious, and cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s incredible to think that it was made on a budget of an estimated $1,500,000. Proof that quality movies can be made on small budgets, it’s all about the story and how it is told. Insidious: Chapter 2 is due out later this year, and I will be there opening night.

8 stars

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86 Comments

  1. Excellent review of a chilling film, makes me want to watch it again.

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  2. The only kind of horror that absolutely terrifies me is the paranormal. I’m not superstitious or anything close to it, but man, that stuff just gets right under my skin and gnaws at my psyche like a termite. With that said, your review was so good, I might have to make a point of watching this. With friends, and popcorn, and lots of lights. Lots of them. 😉

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    • Paranormal stuff is creepy, and Insidious nails it in my opinion. You should give it a go man, definitely a fresh take on the genre, and yeah just leave some lights on if needs be! Thanks buddy 🙂

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  3. I have become very fond of Patrick Wilson since I saw him in Watchmen, and this looks cool, will definitely give it a try. Thanks Tyson 🙂

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    • I like him a lot, I think Hard Candy was the first time I really took notice in him. Hope you like Insidious if you ever see it. Cheers 🙂

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      • I haven’t seen Hard Candy, that’s the one with Ellen Page isn’t it? Would you recommend it?

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        • Yes that’s the one. I liked it, wasn’t what I was expecting but it was a clever spin on things. Tricky subject matter but wasn’t graphic if I remember rightly. I would say its worthy of a watch though, the 2 leads are excellent in my opinion.

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  4. Im not a big fan of horror movies these days but I always like to find a good. Good review im interested in checking this one out.

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    • Yeah it’s just nice to see something even remotely original and new in the genre. It at least does stuff differently, like show scary things in the daytime! Hope you like it if you give it a chance. Cheers Issy 😛

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  5. I love Insidious and I’m inclined to agree that James Wan’s really talented. Good review. I’m definitely looking forward to Insidious: Chapter 2.

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  6. theipc

     /  March 9, 2013

    HMMM – It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this but I remember it as being good until the last twenty minutes or so. I just re-read what I wrote – yep, that’s how I felt. I’m glad YOU liked it, though : )

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    • A few reviews I’ve read said something similar, the ending just let people down. I loved it though, and cant wait for the story to continue! 🙂

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  7. Its great until near the end, but generally good 😀

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  8. The beginning worked, the end not to much for me. Great write up. 😉

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    • Wow, surprised at the dislike for the ending, seems you’re not alone. Just really worked for me for some reason. Cheers Chris 🙂

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  9. Garry Armstrong

     /  March 9, 2013

    Love Rose Byrne from “Damages” and Patrick Wilson from “A Gifted Man” TV series. The write up is great if the movie isn’t my cup of tea.

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  10. I love scary movies but I never seem to really get scared by them but this movie is scary. It gets under your skin in really unexpected ways. I think it’s a much more interesting take on that Paranaormal Activity (which bored me to tears) style movie. I also agree the camera angles really make this movie a standout.

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    • Glad you liked it! Definitely gets under your skin, and some really nice unexpected scares. I liked Paranormal Activity as an idea and concept, but this is miles ahead on all aspects.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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  11. This one made me scream (in theaters)… and it felt good!! lol

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  12. Amen!

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: in my opinion James Wan is the most exciting director working in the horror genre.”

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  13. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this one, even though I’m a fan of paranormal movies and television shows, but your review changed my mind. AND it’s actually available on Netflix Streaming, so it’s now in my queue. I’ll be watching it on my laptop, in the dark, with headphones on, and I will double-check to make sure my front door is locked beforehand!

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    • Always good to hear Todd! There was something else recently you said was streaming I recommended, I could really be letting you down if you hate them! I hope you enjoy and are suitable scared 🙂

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      • As usual, if what you recommend fails to impress me, I will be demanding a full refund.

        Don’t worry if you suggest something I end up not liking…at the very least, I’ll have a movie under my belt that I can review for The Derby Killer!

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  14. Mithil

     /  March 10, 2013

    hey i saw this one recently .. quite liked the further concept and it gets exciting in the last stages. +1 Tyson

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  15. petalfrog

     /  March 10, 2013

    Putting in a request for a review of Sinister 🙂 I just watched it tonight after reading numerous positive reviews (63% fresh on rotten tomatoes even), and both my boyfriend and I HATED it. I’m still fuming nearly an hour later…

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    • Wow really? I have it ready to watch but not seen it yet. I have heard a lot of good stuff about it though. Shame you didn’t like it, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts when I see it! 🙂

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      • petalfrog

         /  March 15, 2013

        Yeah, I heard lots of good things too! I hated it so much I spent an hour looking up online reviews to see what on earth I missed…. then I spent two days coming up with three other plots that would have worked better. Been a long time since I felt so much anger towards a movie (I think largely b/c I as excpecting something amazing due to reviews).

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  16. While I was bored out of my mind watching it, I really did enjoy your review. Unfortunately the movie did not do anything for me, I found myself reading comics while watching it.

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    • Really? Might have to team you and Eric up for a face off! Reading comics whilst watching…….hmmmm shame you didn’t like it Catalin but thanks anyway 🙂

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  17. Rose Byrne you say? I’m in! Nice review mate.

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  18. I haven’t read your review in full as there’s no doubt potential for spoilers, but your rating has convinced me to now watch it; and I trust your educated opinion on horror. It’s on netflix at the mo so will check it out and TRY to review it. 😉

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  19. Great movie. I was really surprised by how scary and creepy this one was.

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  20. This thing has been stuck in my Netflix queue limbo for a while. I’ve got to take time to give it a look!

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  21. I really liked this film because it is so brilliantly crafted and concise. It’s a great film to see in a cinema when you know nothing about although I found that a second viewing at home was lacking since I knew what was coming although I did spot some new things.

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    • I would agree the first time is the best for scares and jumps, but I felt I understood it more the second time round. Cheers 🙂

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  22. See, I thought the movie had a lot going for it… until the final 20 minutes. The makeup on the demon? Awful! I wanted something horrible to look at, ala REC, but didn’t get it. That whole section really broke the film irreparably for me, but I’ll give part 2 a look… just in case…

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  23. Great review bro. I liked this but only by half. The second part of the film didn’t really work for me but it was great up until the clairvoyance side of things.

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  24. Great review there! I HAVE to watch this now, I love a good creepy horror & have been struggling to find one for a while!

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  25. That creepy ass sound they kept using whenever something freaky happened in the movie scared me so bad, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole damn movie. I thought it was very effective, not necessarily anything amazing but it was definitely well done horror flick.

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    • Yes, perfect use of the sound effects. At least you liked it, just maybe not as much as I did. Thanks for stopping by Sati 🙂

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  26. Outstanding film in my opinion, I loved everything about it. Super creepy, one of the better in quite sometime.

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  27. I thought it was kind of meh. Some of the stuff at the end was nice visually but I didn’t find anything special about it like so many others seemed to have.

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    • If I love something chances are you will hate it! And we both know factually I’m right 😉

      Shame it didn’t work for you Misty, but thanks for reading 🙂

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  28. Great review. I really enjoyed this film; it kept me engaged the whole way through.

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  29. writing a review for this at the moment, and I thought it did tail off a bit and turned very much into ‘poltergeist’ towards an absurd last half hour, but I really liked the very end and some of the imagery was disturbing, relying on chills to scare rather than gore which I always prefer. It was good I thought perhaps a seven/3.5

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    • Look forward to your thoughts dude. Glad you liked it and hear what your saying. Chills are sometimes better, but I do like my gore 🙂

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  30. I’m two months late for this party, but I just watched this yesterday and agree with most everything you said. But for me, I liked the ending until the last minute.
    You should just know that whenever I watch a horror movie now I pop over here and throw the title into your search bar to see if you have seen it and what you thought of it 🙂

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    • Good man, thanks for doing that, means a lot. Try the A-Z dropdown for more hidden gems 😉

      Yeah, having read your thoughts we mostly agree, I liked the ending however. Glad you liked it overall though, and maybe you’ll be checking out the upcoming sequel 🙂

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  31. Great review man. Just finished watching this today and hopped on here to see what you had thought. I am going to write about this on my site (I’m claiming it as Australian given the Wan/Whannel factor). Pretty much agree with everything you said. This is the first Wan film I have seen and was very impressed. Some really fantastic camera work going on. I found this to be pretty scary too, I’m generally not too scared by horror flicks, but this one freaked me out. I wouldn’t have described the second half as poor like I think some people have, but did prefer the first half a little more.

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    • Thanks buddy, glad you’ve seen it and liked it. Plus you have some more Wan films to work through now. Got to support fellow Aussies 🙂

      Look forward to your thoughts, if WordPress ever fixes itself

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      • Yeah man, bummer about your WordPress issues. That would get me pretty down. Hope to have you back soon – need your vote on my latest Live Tweet poll!

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  32. Finally watched this and really, really enjoyed it. Craziness works for me too. Mildly freaked (watchd it on my own) but worth it!

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    • Great to hear!!!! Thanks for letting me know, and Im just glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      You have The Conjuring to check out next 🙂

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