I’m a sucker for good, old-fashioned, supernatural chillers. Insidious isn’t quite up there with the classics but it makes a valiant attempt to frighten the living daylights out of everyone via noise and mood that sadly have become passé in modern cinema.
Hark, then, to the sound of creaking doors, footsteps in upstairs rooms, whispers in empty corridors… Insidious is a throwback to movies like The Haunting, The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist. If it goes off-track in the final reel then so be it. But the journey to its conclusion is enough to raise the neck hairs.
New family, old house. One of the couple’s sons pokes around in the attic and next day is in a comatose state that has doctors baffled. There is no explanation. Three months later the boy is sent home to be attended by a nurse.
Now things start to get creepy. Mother Renai (Rose Byrne) hears a man’s voice on the baby monitor. Later her second son, referring to his bedridden sibling, remarks “I don’t like it when he walks around at night.” The answer that no-one wants to admit is that the boy is somehow cursed. It’s not the creepy old house at all – or the new home the family flees to.
The boy is accomplished at astral projection and can leave his physical body at will. But he has travelled too far into a dark realm occupied by the tortured souls of the dead. These entities, all craving life, are gathered around him, desperate to enter his body.
Some are more malevolent, more insidious, than others. One, a demon, is on the brink of breaking through. To prevent it, the boy’s father (Patrick Wilson) must rescue him.
Insidious has been touted as being made by the team behind Paranormal Activity and Saw. And indeed it has a relatively simple concept in that Byrne, Wilson and Barbara Hershey (as Byrne’s mother) have been scared out of their wits by what they have seen, half-seen or heard
That atmosphere of terror is capably transferred to the audience. Nothing is more affecting that the fear of the unknown and with jangling sound effects, shadows, silhouettes and darkness director James (Saw) Wan has delivered a more-than creditable entry into the annals of the modern chiller.
Insidious is the type of film that will prompt cinemagoers to peep under the bed before they go to sleep. And is that really the dead branch of a tree creaking outside the window? Of course it is. But better just check. Just in case.