Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Before And After II: Insidious Part The Second

There are definite advantages to being a pessimist, you can safely avoid a lot of disappointment that way, but that said, there are few feelings sweeter than having something actually turn out as good as you expect. If there was any doubt, I liked Insidious.

So, the story is pretty much what it says on the tin. This couple starts experiencing weird shit after their son ends up in a coma, the circumstances around said coma also being in the "weird shit"-category. Eventually, they discover that their son has managed to astrally project himself on to way too deep astral water, and now all manner of undead dicks want his vacated body, and the evilest of these, some sort of demon, being the closest to manage this. Needless to say, this would be bad, for more than one reason.

There are a couple of things with the story that I found, well, rather refreshing, for the lack of a better word. For one, yes, the wife is the one who discovers weird shit going down first, as is customary for these films it would seem, but when she confronts her husband about it, he's initially skeptical, but actually agrees to move out of the house, something that, in most Haunt-movies would solve the problem entirely. This movie, though, is similar to Paranormal Activity, in that it's actually a person who's haunted, rather than a location. This, for obvious reasons, makes this gesture rather pointless in the large scope of things, but still, he seems like a more pleasant guy than a lot of ghost movie fathers, so that's something.

Of course, this sympathy towards the father becomes very important near the end, where the dad enters the shadowy dark world that is The Further. It brings to mind how that Silent Hill movie got a lot of flak for turning the main character into a woman, the implication being, the critics claimed, that males could not go through hell for their offspring, that it was "a chick ting" if you will. Well, insidious doesn't do that, although I do see the more practical reason for the father to be the one with talents in Astral Projection, but that's a little too spoilery even for me.

Now, to the important stuff. The scares. Insidious brings the good stuff in this regard too. The scares are fairly low-key, not relying on the obnoxious jumpscares. One that works especially well is just past the halfway point, when the mom wakes up from some nightmare or other, and we see someone walking outside her window. Initially, I was in full "OHSHI-"-modus, but nothing was made of it, and it wasn't until whoever it was passes again, and she asks if it's her dear hubby I relax, only for the thing, a ghost if you were curious, teleport in and start being unpleasant. The timing is part of what makes it work, together with a lack of over the top orchestral stings and other silliness. The part in The Further is also pretty well done, it's rather subtly unnerving in a very "Ghost House"-kind of way, and although it does get kind of hectic after a while, it still feels rather subtly unnerving in the "less is more" way that oh so few horror movies seem to be able to do.

In summation, Insidious is a pretty good horror movie. Nothing brainmeltingly original or genre-defining like Saw I, but considerably much more scary, possibly a bit of a Paranormal Activity light for those who can't stand Found Footage films, or just a good film in its own rights, for that matter.

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