Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Insidious thoughts

A lot of films have been made about the Paranormal. Some of them have faded into obscurity (The Dark, Them) whilst others (The Exorcist, Hellboy) have become iconic sentinels of the genre. Sometimes you see a film trailer and you think, "That might be good." And so, against your better judgement (really, is there even such a thing when it comes to Art?) you pay the $8-11 dollars and you settle into your seat with the loudest MOVIE food ever invented, Popcorn. And you watch.

Sometimes you regret it.

I saw the Insidious trailer and scoffed at the effort the filmmakers made to push the word INSIDIOUS into the paranormal lexicon by having it repeatedly jump out at you. INSIDIOUS IS. INSIDIOUS IS. 

Insidious is... stupid.

Now hear me out, if you are the kind to watch a film, no matter how ridiculous, because the story is kind of intriguing, I feel for you. I really do. But when it comes to the paranormal, cliches on top of hocus pocus does no justice to anyone. Most of all the people who actually study the phenomena. 

I read a few reviews prior to seeing the film myself. The reviewers (who shall not be named. They better feel the shame. Hey... I rhymed!) all expressed fear. The movie scared them. So I wanted to see it because I wanted to be scared. 

And I was. For 2.7 seconds. And that was it.

The story goes a father who is a gifted Astral-projectionist (is that even a legit title?) passes the gift onto his son who then wanders too far from his physical body, leaving it vulnerable to possession. Easy enough right? Oh contraire, mon fraire... no it isn't. Because in the midst of this poor kid's (who is asleep for months in a non-coma), medical woes is a family struggling against darker, stranger forces from the unknown.

The ghosts have come out to play and they all want his body for a playground. Worst of all, the main contender is a demon, who according to the film, has never had a body and therefore wants this kids for nefarious means. You get it?

There were some spooktastic moments that lost their spooktasticness (I just made that up) the longer the camera shots were, because this film was made on an $800,000 thousand dollar budget. That's candy money in Hollywood. So you have to give the filmmakers (the same masterminds behind Paranormal Activity. Cough. ) some cred. 

The movie isn't all bad. There's maybe 2-3 moments that are cool until the moment after sinks it all to oblivion. Here's why I didn't like it: It was too stupid to be true. There, I said it. I've had enough ghost hunts and ghost haunts in my life to be able to look at something so mainstream and see the defect in conventional thinking.

Demons don't wear body paint. Dead people don't smile like cracked out muppets. Mostly, entities without bodies don't conjure all that power on their own, to throw people against walls or physically manifest long enough to get you to chase them from room to room. 

I honestly felt like Insidious was an inside joke. The ghosthunters/experts are two geeks (who, for the record, are the only solid entertainment in the whole film. Sorry, Barbara Hershey.) who use odd instruments that border on Steampunk, to get results. They are funny, argumentative and perhaps a little like some ghosthunters you may know, but there methods are straight up comic-book. 

Insidious just left me with an insidious taste in my mouth. I wanted to like it, I really did, but in the end I just walked out of the theater thinking, "People have the nerve to critique Sucker Punch when stupidity like this gets rave reviews?" Oh Hollywood... you are made of FAIL. 

The ending will make you want to punch someone.


Deirdre said...

Woah, is that Darth Maul behind Patrick Wilson?

Ya know, I saw the preview for this a couple of weeks ago. I noticed Wilson was in it, and was anticipating a (hopefully) decent film.

But then I saw the trailer.

Outside of everything that you have pointed out (which I agree with, when a company tried to make a film that is supposed to scare people with the underlying angle of "ZOMG! This could really happen!"), I am so fucking sick and tired of 'spooky kids'.

It worked in the Shining and a few others, but now it's just kind of "Oh wow, yet another demonic kid movie."

Deirdre said...


Tina Sena said...

Same here. The whole 'dark-eyed' possessed kids who kill their parents is tired. Plus, those same dayum kids go on to do more movies, but continue to look creepy. Which is why I can not watch Christina Ricci in anything else because all I see is Wednesday Adams.

myteethareshiny said...

If I could accurately portray a disgusted face in text, I would. Hopefully this will suffice.


That was my face throughout most of the movie. It was retarded. What pushed me over the edge was the fact that the Dad was chased by the butt baby of Mr. Tumnus and Darth Maul.

callmemich said...

I liked it.
It's the kind of movie you watch with a large group of friends, turn on the volume to 11 and just let the scary scenes do their work to make it a movie night to remember.
I don't get scared of any thriller/horror movie actually (I don't wanna brag or something, I just have seen enough movies to know the cliches and when the scary parts are coming).
It was funny (SPOILER) because during the end I said to my friends "Wouldn't it be funny if the father gets possessed"
And boom! It happened. Was a little proud of myself =b
I thought the demon was pretty cool, but sometimes he was in frame too long, which then of course loses its "Scary-ness?"
The psycho ghost smiles were a good touch I gotta say..
The creepy eyes wide open, non emotionless face like in grudge doesn't do it for me anymore.
All in all: it reminded me of The Haunting In Connecticut and I liked it =)
It get's a 7 out of 10 from me ^^

burnedweenie said...

I liked Insidious, and I'll tell you why! First of all, the demon is not some shock gag that walks by some bush's as M Knight Shamalyan's aliens do in SIGNS, some of his films don't even have a creature, just a film of skilled actors struggling for about two hours until you see the boogeyman for 5 seconds. Insidious most successful scene, to me, is the demons lair scene. If the film had focused around the demon itself, whats its motive as its sharpening its claws were, it would have been a stronger fright and shock for nightmares. Insidious also had more than one entity. Most horror films have one monsterm or hordes of zombies marching around trying to bite their victims. That gets boring. Insidious delved into our fears on more than one level, and its been awhile since we've seen that!

And don't pick on the Exorcist, it converted alot of people and increased church coffers!