REVIEW: Insidious

13 10 2011

The only kind of horror that has any sort of power over me is ambiental terror, such as “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and for a modern example, “Paranormal Activity.”  Any hooligan can orchestrate something to jump out of an obscure spot as an eerie violin slowly vamps to a forte; it takes skill and artistry to craft a lingering sense of foreboding doom.  While “Insidious” would like to join this club, it really falls short of the mark on some basic levels.

It’s clearly aiming for “Exorcist”-level scares with the whole demonic child plot device.  Dalton Lambert winds up in a coma after a freak accident, throwing his grief-stricken parents (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) into distress and panic.  When all sorts of strange and paranormal activities start to occur, they quickly blame the house.  But according to the advice of a spectral expert, the fault is not in their house but in Josh and Renai’s baby.  (Yes, I did just work in references to all three of the movies I mentioned in the opening paragraph.  I had to find some way to make this lackluster movie have some sort of memorable review.)

It won’t take me long to quickly sum up the major flaws of “Insidious” – the exposition is too prolonged and uneventful, the atmosphere is never well established, and the story takes multiple turns towards the ridiculous and absurd towards its finale.  It gets so bizarre that I think Tom Cruise and his Scientologist buddies would even call it far-fetched.  But at least it excels at doing what many sub-par horror movies have to settle for achieving: entertainment.  C+ /