31 Days of Terror - 'Insidious' (2010)
31 Days of Terror will cover a wide array of horror films leading up to Halloween. We'll be posting our thoughts and feelings on some of our favorites every day for the next 31 days. If your favorite doesn't make it, it doesn't mean we don't like it, so speak up in the comments below!
Who didn't jump when Darth Maul appeared behind Patrick Wilson? Who wasn't scared by the man standing outside the window behind the baby's crib? Who didn't feel chills any time the lady in black was around? If your answer to these questions was "I didn't" or "I wasn't", then you may want to check your pulse and make sure you're not one of the ghosts occupying the further.
James Wan's Insidious is one of the few modern horror films that had me legitimately scared in the theater. I'm not one to close my eyes during horror films, but there are a few moments here where my brain over-rode my body and forced my hands to plaster themselves over my eye-holes. Unfortunately, the film isn't nearly as frightening on repeat viewings, but it did such a number on me that first time that it more than earns a spot on the list of my favorite horror movies. Plus, Wan's film is insanely creative considering the few nuts and bolts James Wan had to work with.
"The Further" is such a cool idea for a ghostly netherworld where tormented spirits try to find there way back in to the real world. The haunted house sequence where the father (Patrick Wilson) journeys into the further is very effective and visually appealing. Wan is a gifted filmmaker that knows exactly where the viewer's eye will be looking. He also knows what a good jump-scare is as this film is filled to brim with them, but not one of them is a damn cat jumping out of a dumpster or a friend reaching from behind to get the attention of the protagonist.
I also like the cast, who all seem committed to making the film's crazy world as convincing as possible. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne make for a convincing couple and there sons also do a great job reacting to spooks that aren't actually there. Then there's Lin Shaye, who has quickly become the center-piece of these Insidious films, and for good reason; she's absolutely magnetic as the fearless ghostbuster.
Though Insidious might not be as scary on the small screen, it's still a wildly inventive low-budget horror film that is sure to go down as one of the greats in the coming decades.