Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Insidious (DVD Review)

DVD review of the supernatural horror film Insidious from Saw director James Wan, starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Bryne & Ty Simpkins.

Image: Courtesy of Alliance Films
Legal Line © 2010 Alliance Films (UK) Limited. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Dir: James Wan (Saw)
Cast: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Andrew Astor, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
USA, 2011

Reason to see: Supernatural horror is always a must-see for me.

I'm always excited when a new supernatural film comes out and especially supernatural horror because those are the ones that can really creep me out. Yes, I like my horror subtle scary over slasher scary any day. When Insidious was bring promoted as "from the people who brought you Saw (re: director James Wan) and Paranormal Activity", I was excited because I loved Paranormal Activity, but hesitant with the Saw connection. Good thing I threw that hesitation to the wind as the lasting impression that carries through all three films is intensity, a good story and the fact that the filmmakers really know their audience.

I really enjoyed Insidious, and it definitely scared me and those are the two very important factors in a supernatural horror movie. The film is centred on the Lambert family, including couple Renai & Josh (Rose Byrne & Patrick Wilson) and kids, who have enough normal family drama for the audience to easily connect to, until things start to get creepy at which point you are already with them and need to just hold on for the ride. The slow transition from normal to unnerving is a great one filled with a great combination of normalcy and subtly that keeps you in in enough light to know you are going somewhere...but not sure where. The film did a great job of building the tension and playing well to the audience, bringing and old school vibe with an up to date feel. I also really enjoyed Rose Byrne's character of Renai and was particularly fond of Barbara Hershey portrayal of Josh's mother Lorraine.

I'm a big fan of less is more with supernatural films, and I felt that Insidious when it played that card it played it very well. I felt that it came through softly strong with the great story at the heart of the film, but there were also louder, brasher elements that aspect of the film in terms of the art direction and score which were the only things that I didn't love about the film. Other than that, it was completely solid. I enjoyed the story, I connected to the characters and empathized with their journeys and it certainly had some great scares. Great paranormal fun.

DVD Extras:
  • Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar (10 minutes) film clips and interviews screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell and director/editor James Wan on the idea and inspirations that they brought to the film, devices used to set the tone of the film, the things that make scary films work and many aspects of horror films including commentary on the connecting to the audience, the use of jump scares of horror films, relating to characters, and on different subgenres of horror films and what makes them work.
  • On Set with Insidious (8 minutes) behind the scenes with actor Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins along with interviews screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell and director/editor James Wan on being on set, working with the actors, especially with Patrick Wilson and working with kids, how plus stunt work and how all the effects are practical and how they made it less scary for the younger actors plus discussing ideas and showing some behind the scenes footage of scenes that didn't make it into the finished film
  • Insidious Entities (6 minutes) film clips, behind the scenes and interviews screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell, director/editor James Wan, production designer/co-producer Aaron Sims, costume designer Kristin M. Burke, department head - make up Eleanor Sabaduquia, department head - hair Yesim 'Shimmy" Osman and actor J. LaRose on the several entities/characters created for film including the inspiration for the characters, the motivations of the characters, the supernatural background for the characters including the tone and level of scariness of the different entities and how their look & style was created and achieved.
  • Theatrical Trailer
Insidious is available on DVD as of July 12, 2011. Check it out over at Amazon.ca & Amazon.com

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it *and* it scared me: win-win!
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it fans of supernatural films and horror films

See also: All 2011 Films Reviewed, All Film Reviews and DVD Reviews

© Shannon Ridler, 2011
Originally reviewed for Theatrical Release - April 6, 2011

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star in INSIDIOUS an Alliance Films' release.

Leigh Whannell, also writer of INSIDIOUS, and Lin Shaye in INSIDIOUS an Alliance Films' release. Photo Credit - John Darko

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