(2011) director James Wan
An attempt at a more psychological, atmospheric horror film from the director/co-creator of Saw (2004), James Wan. There is a moderate dearth of the more tired elements of the horror genre: a notable lack of gore, few if any surprise (jump out of whatever) “shocks”, no body count. It’s an earnest attempt, unfortunately it seems, by a director who doesn’t handle narrative and character with dexterity or even clarity.
It’s the story of a family who’ve moved into a new home, an older building, which seems to be haunted. While some strange and creepy things happen, suddenly the eldest boy is found in a coma-like state, that is “not a coma”. Turns out that he’s slipped out into another dimension, but don’t let me spoil what other small surprises might be there.
I was put to mind of the much more successful and atmospheric The Others (2001), perhaps mostly in what the film is trying to do. Further than that, the film that was most evoked was 1982’s Poltergeist, in which another small family has some evil shenanigans played upon a small child (abducted both physically and spiritually). Of course, Poltergeist is a bit of a classic. And The Others, though I only saw it once, struck me as quite a good film. The difference is that, sadly, Insidious just is nowhere near those films in quality.
It got some decent reviews, so I had some element of hope for it. I like a good ghost story (or horror story, or however you’d like to classify it). This is not one for the ages.