Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins
Directed by: Jams Wan
Written by: Leigh Whannell
Runtime: 103 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 7/12/2011
HTS Overall Score:85
Josh Lambert (Wilson) and his wife Renai (Byrne) have recently moved into their new home after an undisclosed past event, or series of events, prompts them to down size so Renai can concentrate on her songwriting. Shortly after moving into the new house, Renai begins to notice strange events happening and it isn’t long before these occurrences get to a level of intensity and ferocity that they threaten the life of one the Lambert’s children.
After three months of living with these occurrences, the family picks up once again and relocates to another new home in hopes of regaining some level of normalcy in their lives. But it isn’t long before they are once again confronted with threats from an unseen force that has followed them; or has it? As the story progresses, the viewer’s soon find out that it isn’t the houses that are haunted; it’s their son and the only way they are ever going to break free from this supernatural horror that continues to terrorize their family is to face it head on; no matter how terrifying, horrific and insidious the threat it may be.
My synopsis for Insidious is brief and vague for a reason; I don’t want to ruin it for any of you. Insidious kind of came out of the blue and is one of those rare horror movies that successfully capitalizes on the viewer’s fear of the unknown and grabs them with a wonderfully balanced mix of sound, imagery and story. James Wan weaves a fairly simple story with plenty of creepiness and angst to keep the viewer engaged throughout the tale unfolding before them.
It’s a real shame that this movie wasn’t better marketed and flew under the radar like it did as it is easily one of the scarier movies that I have seen in quite a while. One of the things that really stood out to me was the pacing of the film. The story moves from its setup time in the beginning of the film and abruptly grabs you and puts you on full alert with a single shot in one scene. From that point on the creepiness never really leaves and the viewer is constantly on the edge of their seat and on the lookout for the next one. Even the scenes where you unquestionably know that there is something coming can still grab you and give you a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=6925[/img]For a movie that is rated PG-13, “Insidious” sure packs quite a punch, but alas, it isn’t the best horror movie I’ve ever seen as there were a couple of things that I would have liked to have seen done differently. For instance; the movie was moving along at a very good pace and had an insanely creepy feel to it however; it moved beyond the “creepiness” into a more “gotcha” tactic for a bit which I felt sacrificed just a tad of the overall feel of the movie. This wasn’t a bad thing necessarily and I may have been spending a bit too much time trying to find a flaw with the movie and it does come full circle in the end; it is just something that I noticed and felt it warranted a comment. If I were to classify Insidious, I would say that it is part Poltergeist, part Frailty and part Grudge, but it is very well executed and should bring several repeat viewings to fans of the genre.
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language.
“Insidious” sports a typical 1080P, AVC transfer with an average bit rate of 30Mbps. The resolution is razor sharp and details are plentiful. This is one of the clearest live action movies I have seen in a while. Color reproduction and flesh tones are as good as I have ever seen and change accordingly with the temperature changes of a given scene. Black levels are not only inky and near infinite, but the gradational qualities give it an incredible amount of depth and project a very ominous and sinister feeling. Shadow detail is phenomenal especially when Josh crosses over into “The Further”. There is occasional natural grain that gives a more cinematic quality to the film and I could not detect any digital noise, artifacts or any flaws with this transfer; this one is as solid as they come.
Let me get this out of the way immediately because I did find one thing exceedingly annoying about this 5.1 DTS-HD-MA presentation. In the very beginning and at the very end of the film there is a flash on the screen that shows the title of the movie accompanied by an insidious noise, no pun intended, being played at a very loud volume. That being said, this is an extremely dynamic audio track. The first 20 minutes or so of the film doesn’t offer much in the way of audio bliss as it is basically the film's character and story setup. The occasional surround channel is filled with a baby’s cry or ambient noise, but that’s about it. However; once the supernatural events start taking place, there is plenty of properly placed LFE and an abundance of surround creepiness that just adds tons of atmosphere to the film. The score was very thoughtfully written and properly placed in each scene to convey the mood of that particular scene. Additionally, there are a couple of masterfully placed songs in the movie that really got under my skin; Tiny Tim - "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" and some yodeling song that was being played on a record player that I could not identify while a ghost danced to it, now that was creepy. Overall this was a very wonderfully balanced and very dynamic presentation that I will revisit from time to time.
- Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar
- On Set with Insidious
- Insidious Entities
Personally; I am a big fan of horror movies as long as they are done right and by that I mean that I am not necessarily a fan of gore or disturbing images unless it feeds the story. I am not a fan of the “SAW’ movies, but I am a fan of “The Descent”. Insidious has the type of vibe that slowly draws you in and then "BAM!", you are inescapably hooked and it’s far too late to stop watching as you find yourself suddenly watching from the comfort and safety of a pillow or blanket covering half of your face. The characters are believable and lend wonderfully to the overall production and while the story is a retread of many before it; it is presented in a way that is very exciting and fresh. I highly recommend horror buffs give it a spin and can confidently say that fans of the genre shouldn’t hesitate buying it as this is a very refreshing change for the genre.
Recommendation: Buy It!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring