Rave: Insidious

For a little break from our fashion week reporting, here’s a quick review of the latest flick by Alliance Films, Insidious, from our film reviewer, Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Was it truly scary or just a joke? Find out below. Insidious opens in theatres today. 

Twitter: @pliving; @InsidiousMovie; @AllianceFilms

Why is it that, as adults, each time we get scared, we shudder or shiver or yelp  – and then laugh? That was me (already, I know) all through the cult horror Insidious, opening today. Rumor has it, according to one PR girl and some dude sitting beside me, the flick screened at last year’s TIFF and before the end of the screening, was snapped up for distribution. 

Conceived and created by fear team James Wan and Leigh Whannell (the duo who brought you the Saw franchise, the first movie since Freddy to actually scare me), Insidious centres on a veritable house of horrors – in alternate dimensions – taking place within a real haunted house. The movie stars Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson as a suburban American couple who move into their dream home, but begin to experience supernatural events after their son lapses into a coma for no apparent medical reason. 

Confused and frustrated by the lack of progress in his condition, the noises that go bump in the night only get worse: blood on the sheets, men at the window, voices over the baby monitor. Classic spook tactics. Finally, a supernatural expert is brought in and the real fun begins: journeys to other dimensions, contact with lost souls and fights with evil spirits ensue. 

It’s quite the departure from what we’re used to for modern scary movies. In a movie like Saw (or even Scream), you feel like the plot points could actually happen in real life. But with Insidious, rife with magical and mystical themes, you really have to be a believer to be scared. Wan and Whannell create a world within a world, where everything is subjective, and perceptions will make you second guess your motives. How much are we willing to believe before it all stops being spooky and starts sounding … crazy? 

And I think that’s their intention. There’s one major plot point – that I won’t give away here – that had me dreaming, and subsequently Googling, for days about the possibility of losing yourself in sleep. (Watch it, you’ll see what I mean). 

What’s also great about the movie is the comedy. During a Q-and-A with the guys, they noted that they wanted to use comedy to tell people when to laugh, rather than have them laugh at scary parts because they’re cheesy. They succeed, blending suspense and comedy with a strong supporting cast of ghost hunters that enter during the second half of the movie (including a role played by Whannell).

So, if you like shows like Buffy, or cult classics like Beetlejuice, you might have found a dream come true.