A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.
I finally have access to all the Insidious films. Because of this, I’m in the process of re-watching the first two – something I haven’t done since their initial release. I watched the first of the films yesterday and my thoughts are a bit mixed on it. Don’t get me wrong – I like the movie, but I think it’s PG-13 rating held it back a bit.
Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is, undoubtedly, the central figure of the story. His role throughout much of the movie is to lay comatose in a bed whilst demons fight for possession of his body. He’s got two siblings, a brother named Foster (I think I got that right) and a sister named Cali. His parents, Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) are the supposed doting parents – Josh on the other hand could benefit from an actor that’s a bit more invested in his role. I could feel him rolling his eyes between scenes, he was so unenthused.
The plot of Insidious is fairly straightforward, though there is at least one glaring continuity issue that we encounter. For the most part it’s pretty standard haunting and possession, but somehow halfway through the movie (okay, maybe a little later than that) two characters vanish completely. Foster and Cali, the entire time we’re dealing with the Further – another plane of existence – are nowhere to be found. No one’s worried about their safety, no one’s trying to protect them. They’re just… gone. Unless I missed something critical in which they were sent off to a friend’s house or something, then we’ve got a glaring plot hole that gives this film a bit of a blemish when it comes to its polish.
PG-13 is the rating given to a horror film whose goal is to make money. The whole reason it doesn’t cross that boundary is so that all the teenagers can go to the theatre without their parents for what they hope will be a good scare. I learned this the hard way when I had to walk out of the Prom Night remake because kids wouldn’t shut up. (As a result, I rarely go to see a movie that is PG-13.) In Insidious we see the affects of this in the severity of the “hauntings.” Even the demons are downplayed – there’s a distinct lack of violence in the film that one might expect when a powerful entity is trying to take hold of a kid’s body. Sure, we’ve got a few bloody handprints, a little bit of poltergeist-like activity, but that’s it. It’s most stuff you’d expect to see in a scary movie directed at children, with the addition of a few jump-scares that rely heavily on auditory senses.
Needless to say, there are far worse movies than Insidious out there and I still intend to watch the other films. I’m a bit indecisive on how I want to rate this – I enjoyed watching it up until things get a bit silly toward the end, where the Further is involved. At the same time, I don’t dislike the movie. That said, I’ve decided to go with a three out of five.