Sunday, February 19, 2012

Movie Review: Insidious (2011)

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Genre: Horror, Suspense
Year Produced: 2011
Director: James Wan

Patrick Wilson - Josh Lambert
Rose Byrne - Renai Lambert
Ty Simpkins - Dalton Lambert
Barbara Hershey - Lorraine Lambert
Lin Shaye - Elise Reiner
Leigh Whannell - Specs
Angus Sampson - Tucker
Andrew Astor - Foster Lambert

The movie begins in what appears to be a typical setting of a horror movie, where a couple moves into a new house with their children and then strange happenings take place in that very house; giving the obvious impression that the house is haunted and the family is tormented with the abnormal happenings in their home sweet home.

The Lamberts; Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai(Rose Byrne), along with their three children, move into a new house. While Josh goes off to work, his wife Renai was left at home to do the unpacking and to take care of the three children; where the youngest is a baby girl.
Renai was looking through an old photo album with her son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) when he asked her why there is no photo of his daddy and Renai replied that he was simply camera shy and was never fond of the camera. During that time, Dalton told Renai that he was uncomfortable and afraid of his new room and Renai brushed him off, telling him that he just needs a little more adjustment.

Renai found it weird that she was unable to locate her boxes which she had packed and at the same time, her books which were already unpacked and arranged on the shelves in the living room had all fallen to the floor. Renai thought it was her son, but the boys denied it and even mentioned that they never touched her books.
Dalton wandered by himself into the attic when he heard some sounds coming from the attic, and he was scared when he saw something off the screen and fell down the ladder which gave way beneath him.
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Renai and Josh was shocked to find him there and warned him never to go to the attic on his own again. Josh carried Dalton downstairs, and Renai was surprised to see her boxes in the attic, although she had searched the attic on numerous occasions.

The next day, Renai and Josh were busy with their breakfasts in the kitchen and Renai told Josh to wake Dalton up as it was time for him to go to school. Josh went to Dalton's room and was unable to wake him up. Scared, Josh and Renai rushed Dalton to the hospital where the doctors ran tests on him but were surprised that they could find nothing wrong with him.
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The doctor just classified him as in a comatose state but without an explanation.
Dalton remained in the comatose state for the next three months and he was moved home, where he was attended to by a nurse and Renai.
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Renai was surprised to hear sounds on the baby monitor when she was playing her piano downstairs, and upon closer listening, she heard what sounded like people talking and thinking that there were intruders, she rushed upstairs only to find nothing. Then she spotted someone and was scared out of her mind.
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She told Josh that she believed the house to be haunted but Josh, tired from his job and the house moving, told her to relax.
That night, the alarm in the house went off, and Josh, thinking that there was an intruder, rushed downstairs to find the main door wide open. Turning on the porch light, he found no one there and then closing the door, he turned on the alarm again. He rushed upstairs when he heard Renai screaming about seeing a man at the window.
He rushed to the window, but there was nothing and then he was surprised when he heard the alarm going off again. He rushed downstairs to find the main door, once again, wide open! Petrified and bewildered, he sensed something wrong with the house and agreed with his wife that they should move out of the house.

They moved to a new house, and the family thought they could finally be in peace, but they soon found that they were wrong when Renai spotted a woman from the 60s dancing in her middle hall when she was taking out the trash. She rushed to Dalton's room and was surprised to find two little girls hiding in his room. She then told Josh about her suspicions that she believed the hauntings from the previous house followed them to their new house. Josh was initially apprehensive but he was concerned about Renai and their son, Dalton. They spoke to Josh's mother, Lorraine who then introduced them to engage her old friend, Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who is a psychic to investigate about the happenings in their house.

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Two men showed up; Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), who claimed to be the assistants of Elise and that they were sent to run some tests with their specialized equipment beforehand. The duo ran the tests with their equipment which included temperature sensors, electromagnetic fields, light differences and when they spotted something bizarre, they both agreed that it was time to have Elise over immediately.
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Elise soon arrived and was warmly welcomed by Lorraine and Renai, although Josh was still skeptical over the whole incident.

Elise took a walk around the house, followed by her assistants; Specs holding a camera and Tucker was with a drawing pad and pencil, which Elise explained were the tools to communicate her visions, as she sees them, Tucker would draw them on the pad. Elise stopped at Dalton's bedside where she started muttering anxiously and Tucker was scribbling vigorously.
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Renai got anxious and rushed to look at what Elise could possibly see above Dalton's bed.
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She was shocked when she saw a hideous and devilish creature being sketched.
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Elise then explained that Dalton was not really in a comatose condition, but rather, he was what she would call, in her own terms, ' a traveler'. She further explains that Dalton has a unique ability to be able to astral project himself while he was sleeping and he had known about it and has been doing it since he was very young. The reason Dalton is in a coma at the moment was because he had wandered too far away this time during his astral projection and had gone into the different dimensions of the spiritual worlds due to his inability to be afraid. He did not really understand that he was astral projecting and merely thought he was in his dreams. He had travelled to far this time, and had gone into a dimension known as The Further which is a place for the tormented and restless souls of the dead. Dalton is lost in this dimension and for some reason, he was unable to come back as usual, thus leaving his body in a comatose condition. Currently, Dalton's unconscious and comatose state is not favorable for him as the absence of his spirit in his body left it in a lifeless state and the wandering spirits are interested in inhabiting his body. Spirits in such states are without homes and they crave life, and the only way to do so is to get into the body of another person who is not dead to have a second chance at life. Dalton's absence in his body is already known to these spirits as they can sense it and they are all competing to possess his body.
However, it is not an easy process as it requires time and high levels of energy and so far the closest to this is the fiery red-faced demon Elise saw lingering above Dalton's bed.

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Elise warns Renai, Josh and Lorraine that if anything needs to be done to bring Dalton's soul back to his body, it needs to be done immediately as the link between Dalton's spirit and his body is growing weaker, thus the reason for so many different spirits lurking in their home as they await their moment to possess Dalton's body. Elise is worried more about the motives behind the spirits; those with more insidious notions when they get into a human's body.

Josh was still skeptical and turned Elise out of his house, much to the exasperation of Renai and Lorraine.
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He went into Dalton's room and attempts to communicate with him, and it was at this point that he spotted Dalton's drawings which he made out to resemble the creature as described by Elise and when he saw Dalton's notes that he saw himself sleeping, Josh had no choice but to believe that what Elise said was true.

Elise was then invited to their house again and this time, the team attempted to communicate with Dalton's soul.
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Elise wore a huge mask which she used to communicate with Dalton while Specs writes down her words through the headphones he was wearing which is connected to the mask.
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During the session, they managed to contact Dalton who appeared to be very afraid and he mentioned that he could not find his way out as he was being held by 'the man with a red face'. Dalton slowly softened his voice as he tells Elise and Specs that he was very afraid if the man would find out that he was talking to them. Suddenly, Elise and Specs were attacked by an invisible force, which was the demon with three other spirits attempting to possess Dalton.

After the session, Elise contacted Lorraine and told her to tell Josh and Renai about something which she had been hiding from them. Bewildered, Josh and Renai confronted Lorraine and it was then she revealed to them the reason she had known Elise.
It appears that Lorraine contacted Elise a long time ago, for the very same reason she is here at the moment, as Josh was also a child who could astral project and he was terrorized by a terrifying woman spirit who was often following him around. She appeared in most of his pictures, and Lorraine, upon realizing that the spirit was drawing nearer and nearer in each picture, stopped taking photos of Josh altogether so that he will wipe that part off his memory and as such, Josh never did like the thought of taking photos since then.
It seemed that this ability is genetic, which explains how Dalton had inherited this ability from his father.

Elise suggests that Josh relive his ability to astral project to go into The Further to rescue Dalton. Josh, still skeptical, agrees to the idea to have an attempt to save his son and sits through the hypnotizing session in which he astral projected himself out of his body and thus begins his journey into the other dimension to search for his son, Dalton. He followed the voices and managed to find Dalton, who was held captive by the red-faced demon. They escaped and had to fight their way through the spirits to get back to their bodies and it was at this time that Josh confronted his childhood fear, the shadowy old woman who followed him again.

Josh ordered Dalton to run back to his body, while Josh fought her off and she slowly vanishes.
After the suspenseful journey of Dalton and Josh making their way back, they woke up, and it was a happy scene as we see the whole family reunited again and thanking Elise for her efforts.

Renai and Lorraine prepared food in the kitchen while catching up with Dalton, as Josh and Elise packed up the stuffs after the long session. Josh was handing some of the pictures to Elise when Elise was seen to look a little apprehensive as she took them but she pretended to be okay. While Josh was not expecting her, Elise snapped a picture of him on her camera and Josh turned onto her, yelling and strangling at her neck how she knew he never did like his photo being taken. Elise was left strangulated to death on the couch.

Renai made her way into the living room when she heard sounds and was petrified to see Elise dead on the couch. She picks up Elise's camera and saw a photo of an old woman. It is then revealed in a short flashback that when Josh handed Elise the pictures, Elise saw black and long nails on his hand and therefore snapped a picture to confirm her suspicions; Josh was possessed by the old woman!

Renai was devastated and scared, when Josh puts his hand on her shoulder and she turned, to see Josh right behind her!

It was sort of a cliffhanger ending, with the old woman appearing to blow off a candle in the final scene.

Christy's Review/Opinion:
Finally, a horror movie good enough to stand along the lines of the classics such as Poltergeist, Exorcist, Omen! Insidious is a movie which was created to take the audience by surprise with its fresh and original storyline, and successful with that fear and suspense factor.
I was watching this on a flight, thinking that it was probably another cheesy horror movie about a haunted house and a family tormented by it but I was pleasantly hooked on to the steady-paced story and got myself scared a few times as well.
It was definitely a wrong move to watch this on a flight, I must tell you, especially when I was about to check into a hotel to stay:p

The story was well-developed and the performances by the cast was just natural and their chemistry was just excellent. There were just so many small parts in the movie that created a genuine scare, and I enjoyed watching the movie and the interesting plot.
Astral projection is not something new, but it was rather new, in the genre of horror movies, a twist that was rarely used.

Insidious was probably one of the best horror movies produced; with the steady pace and a stronghold story which could rival that of The Omen, but less scarier than The Exorcist yet intriguing and more engaging than The Poltergeist.
It is a must watch for horror movie fans, and although I am not, really, I find myself full of praises for this excellent flick.

If you need some good scare and yet a believable storyline, go for this, seriously!

Likes about the Movie:
The storyline, the pace, and the brilliant performance by the cast.
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Rose Byrne played an anxious mother to perfection, and she managed to project her fears and anxiety on the screen, making the audience feel along with her.
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Patrick Wilson, one of my favorite actors, is just as composed in playing a frustrated husband who wanted to please his wife yet maintain his job and living as he found out that his house could probably be haunted.
My favorite performance has got to be from Lin Shaye, who portrayed the psychic Elise Reiner to life and seemed so poised in her role that she was very convincing as a psychic with years of experiences.

Dislikes about the movie:
Nothing, really, as I liked everything about this movie. If there must be one thing, I think that there should be a bit of spotlight on the other son, Foster, who seemed to be close to Dalton but yet rarely depicted in the movie.Also, maybe they could develop a little more on Josh's character and give us a little more insight into his childhood?

There seems to be positive reviews on this movie, and word has it that there may be a sequel to the movie given the cliffhanger ending, but I'm not sure about the news though.
If there is a sequel, it may make its way to our screens in 2013, or so I heard.
Well, yes or no does not really matter as this is really good for a horror movie night out!

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