Tag Archives: Andrew Astor


29 Apr

Title: Insidious
James Wan
Writer: Leigh Wannell
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Andrew Astor, Leigh Wannell
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language
100 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
Rotten Tomatoes: 

I’m very picky about my horror flicks. I’m not necessarily a huge horror fanboy, but, when they’re done right, I think horror films can provide one of the greatest emotions you can get from watching a movie. You think about films like The Exorcist, The Shining or, my personal favorite, Rosemary’s Baby, and you’ll see how great these films are at making you feel scared and uneasy, staying with you long after you’re done watching them. I love that feeling, which sucks because I genuinely have a hard time getting scared when watching a movie, and I’m always extremely judgmental of horror flicks because of this, so I get picky when watching one.

And we get plagued with horror films now, and, let’s face it, we only get one or maybe two really solid ones a year, two films that can really creep under your skin. Not to say that the past decade in horror flicks was bad, we did after all get some truly terrific additions to the genre thanks to films such as The Orphanage, The Descent, The Hills Have Eyes, The Ring and, especially, Let the Right One In. So yes, I’m not saying the past decade sucked, I’m just saying that the amount of bad ones we got was depressing, for further proof about that horrible fact just look at I Know Who Killed Me, When a Stranger Calls and, most notoriously, House of the Dead.

But anyways, let’s talk about Insidious here. Because, not matter how picky I can be with my scary flicks, this one’s truly awesome. It’s about this haunted house, so it’s not as though it’s particularly original, but it’s just so well executed in the sense that it can get honestly scary and in the sense that scares aside, it’s huge fun to watch unravel, even if the final part isn’t particularly on par with the rest of the film.

This is the sort of film that knows that an audience is infinitely more scared by images and things that we only get a glimpse of or that are merely hinted at instead of just shitloads of blood spilling from a severed corpse. And that’s really what makes Insidious so great, that it decides to haunt us without showing any blood or anything, which in today’s horror film landscape is a luxury, and instead it just plants ideas and scenarios that not only will proof to be deeply unsettling during the film, but also way after it’s over and we’re in the darkness of our homes at night.

By the way, this one comes from the people who also created the Saw franchise, and even though that film overstayed its welcome by quite a few films the first one was actually a pretty good new refreshing film when it came out, and this one is pretty damn awesome itself, and the only Saw film that James Wan directed himself was that first one. So yeah, we get the director and Leigh Wannell, his long-time writing partner, now positioning themselves to tackle the haunted-house/haunted-kid territory. And even though it so obviously draws from films like Poltergeist and a number of other films the film still works on its own, because Mr. Wan is very clever at how he shows certain things, and because the soundtrack here is as manipulative as you’ll find in a horror film, which sometimes is something I hate but in this one I thought it worked seriously great to scare the hell out of the audience.

We get a family who moves into this old house which is like the one we’ve seen in many films of the type, and in there the eldest son bumps his head while exploring the attic, in a scene which is really well crafted by Mr. Wan, and the next morning won’t wake up. He’s not in a comma, doctors inform us, it’s just as though he’s really deeply asleep. And he’s asleep for quite some time in the hospital, but his parents decide it’s time to care for him back home, which you know really isn’t a good idea.

All sorts of weird crap start going on from there, weird sounds begin coming up and strange stuff happens like crazy. And everything is seriously well done by Mr. Wan, who knows exactly when to cut the camera away and how long to take a peep at something that really is nothing but that will scare the living hell out of you nonetheless. I loved how everything here felt. I even liked the part when Josh and Renai bring in ghost hunters because it was some good comedic relief.

There is a point, though, when Mr. Wan does take his time to explain some things. Which is when he lets a psychic into his story to explain where their son is, in a realm beyond dreams that is called “the further”, she explains, and that’s okay that he lets us know what this is because we’re gonna spend some time exploring it. And even though it all does start feeling a bit shaky during the end, which was a pity, it never really goes way off because Mr. Wan is too good at not letting faults in the script derail his film. This one is a throwback to the good old haunted-house horror films, one that bases its scares not in blood or other cheap gimmicks, but in smartly filmed and edited scenes that will go a long way into scaring the living hell out of everybody. I said we get a couple of really solid horror flicks every year, we just found our first truly great one, and we have eight months to hopefully find another one.

Grade: B+