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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Insidious (2011)


I'm a real fan of ghost stories and ghost oriented movies- which would explain why movies like, "The Woman in Black," "Poltergeist," "The Amityville Horror," "The Changeling," "The Others," and the "Paranormal Activity" franchise appeal to me.  I'm always interested when I hear a new one is coming out, and get really excited when I find one that is really well done.  But that's not to say that all of them are great.  Some do have some flaws that are hard to ignore.

Josh and Renai Lambert have moved into a new house with their three children when their son, Dalton suffers a fall and slips into a coma.  When strange phenomena begin to occur, the family moves again in the hopes of escaping the haunting.  Unfortunately, things get worse in their new home until a paranormal investigator reveals that Dalton is lost in the astral plane, and that spirits are attracted to the house by the possibility of possessing his body.  Dalton's spirit must be found before something evil steps out of the ether and takes him for good...

I really liked the first half of this movie.  The fact that the people behind this movie were also responsible for the "Paranormal Activity" movies really raised my hopes for a suspenseful, interesting, and creepy foray into the world of ghosts and spirits.  There is great suspense built up, and the scares are well paced and creative.  My favorites involve the scene where Renai is chasing the dancing boy through the house and is led to a cabinet, and the "red faced man" that appears behind Josh as they're discussing things at the dining room table.  The characters were likable, which helped raise the tension throughout the movie.  It was a well crafted piece of work for the first half.

The second half, while still enjoyable, felt like it was actually a different movie.  The first half of the movie is very remeniscent of "The Changeling," and the second "Paranormal Activity" movie in mood and creepiness.  The second have is very much like "Poltergeist"- which is one of my favorite movies.  It just didn't fit in with the first part of the movie.  There is a noticable change in tone that was a little jarring and shook me out of my state of suspended disbelief.  It's still a decent part of the movie with some great scenes and humour as well- especially the seance scene where the medium (who incidentally looks a LOT like the head paranormal investigator from "Poltergeist") wears a gas mask to communicate with the ghosts.  As much as I enjoyed the humour introduced by the paranormal investigators, it came a little late into the movie, and dropped the over all tone of the movie.

The acting was good, and I liked how in the first half, Renai- played by Rose Byrne, was the focus of the movie during the first half, while Patrick Wilson's character, Josh was the focus of the second half.  It was a nice switch.  I also enjoyed Lin Shaye as the medium, with Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson as her partners.  Great humour from them.

If "Insidious" had been a bit smoother in its transition of tone from the first to second halves, this movie would've gotten a higher rating from me.  Since it felt like I was watching two different movies, I'm going to have to put it in "The Bad".

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