Saturday, October 29, 2011

Insidious (2010) - Tricks and Treats Mini-Marathon

On the Menu: INSIDIOUS (2010)

Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson. Directed by James Wan. Run time: 103 minutes. Rated: PG-13. 

At First Bite: I've had this DVD for a while now, and felt, with Halloween creeping up this weekend, I should finally sit down and enjoy it. I will say I was slightly disappointed when the PG-13 rating popped up before the movie began.

It's a haunted house story, except, as the trailer points out, "It's not the house that's haunted. It's [the] son."

Tough to Swallow: What kid would be sitting on the stairs in a new house and NOT be freaked the f*ck out by a door creaking open by itself? I would have nearly broken my neck running down the stairs two steps at a time.

As he runs from downstairs to the attic, Josh's shirt goes from disheveled to tucked and buttoned (with a tie) in a matter of seconds.

Somehow the porch light blows out, but is back on moments later after Josh closes the front door.

The light switch in Dalton's room changes styles between scenes (switch to dimmer).

Tear streaks on Renai's face change within the scene where Elise gives her explanation of what's happening.

The demon's eyes don't exactly appear as they've been described.

The visualization of the spirit realm is a disappointment. 

Something to Chew On: A chalk drawing of Billy, the puppet from SAW, appears on the blackboard in Josh's class. Names that also appear above the drawing include James Wan, Leslie Borchard (hair stylist) and Yesim Osman (hair stylist).

Whannell, who plays Specs, is also the film's writer.

Joseph Bishara composed the music and was Lipstick-Face Demon.

The old woman was actually played by a man (Philip Friedman).

There's a brief creepy character moment after the credits.

The budget was an estimated $1.5 million. The film grossed over $13 million its opening weekend (nearly $54 million total).

The film was released on April Fools' Day 2011.

Aftertaste: Naturally, the movie is going to draw comparisons to POLTERGEIST. There's no getting around it. Sure, the misplaced books scene isn't as spooky as the chair pyramid in the Tobe Hooper classic, but the tracking shots following Renai through the house set up a lot of creepy moments.

Monsters are scary and all, but giggling specter-children and random ghostly faces popping up out of nowhere are much more unnerving to me. The use of Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in the film is just as unsettling (another track in the closing credits is even more so). That use of music and the slight hokiness of the demon reminded me a lot of JEEPERS CREEPERS, which I thoroughly enjoyed until actually seeing the monster up close.

The visualization of the spirit realm, called The Further, was the major letdown. Meaning, the final third of the flick is pretty lackluster and corny.

I'm a huge fan of the SAW series, but I will say I am surprised that Wan made a decent horror film without any gore. So, there was no reason for me to be worried about that PG-13 label after all. The cinematography, acting and writing are so impressive that you don't miss the blood and guts, which proves you only need well-crafted suspense to make a scary movie, e.g., Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING or THE STRANGERS.

That being said, I prefer this film to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2.5 stars).

P.S. I loved that one of the gadgets used by the paranormal geek squad is a tricked-out View-Master.


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