Today, I’m going to introduce to a recurring theme that you will soon be familiar with in my columns. It’s called the “Delayed Review”. Many of us check the reviews on the latest films before heading to the theater to make sure that we don’t pay $12.00 for a flop but for us cheapies we’ll skip the theater and the review altogether and just rent the $1.00 movie from RedBox or Blockbuster. We hope that the film we rent is not a flop but if we do it’s only $1.00. The Delayed Review is a review of those rented gems that I happen to find.
So earlier this week, I went to my local Blockbuster kiosk to peruse the cheap movies. My brother wanted to see Black Swan but I decided against it because I wasn’t ready for something that disturbing just yet. Instead, I chose Insidious thinking that I haven’t seen a good horror film in a long time and at the most I’ll get a laugh. Boy, was I wrong!
First, some backstory. I grew up watching horror movies. I saw The Exorcist when I was six and from then on horror films became my favorite genre of film. I have my dad to thank for that. Over the years, I noticed the decline in quality horror films as excessive gore became the norm and a good old-fashioned storylines were kicked out the door. They were replaced with mildly scary films written by horror fans who idolized the 70’s/early 80’s golden era of horror which included The Omen, The Shining, Children of the Corn and Carrie. Unfortunately for me these mildly scary, somewhat laughable horror films made their money by becoming franchises that pumped out bad sequel after bad sequel. As a result, I became a sci-fi fan. I found that the good ones had the best script. Mostly, I found that this genre still had good films even in an ocean of badly done sci-fi’s highlighted by overuse of CGI. It was more than I could say for horror films. I hadn’t seen a truly great horror film (and I say great because I’ve seen good horror films lately but not great) in at least 2 decades, possibly three. That’s where Insidious comes in.
Holy freaking bananas, this film is scary! Most of the scares are knee jerk, i.e. the character turns to find a woman with a sadistic smile inches away from his face but it’s subtle. Subtly is the element that horror films have been lacking over the last 2 decades and this film does it so well. I can’t tell you how many times, I literally screamed out loud. I never do that! I was clutching the edges of couch, breathing with bated breath in anticipation of the next jolt. This movie is hands down the best horror film that I have seen in decades.
The story is about a young family of 5 who move into a new house. Their son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls off a ladder and mysteriously slips into coma. That’s when the strange things start to happen. The mother, Renai Lambert played by Rose Byrne, starts to see entities all over the place and theses are more than just bumps in the night. We’re talking dead guys walking around in her bedroom in broad daylight. Renai is so frazzled by the frequent uninvited visitors that she convinces her husband to move again. They do and the entities follow them because it’s not the house that’s haunted. It’s Dalton.
I won’t spoil the film for you suffice it to say that this film is worth your $1.00 and then some. It’s highlighted by some great acting from Byrne and Patrick Wilson, who plays her husband. The cast is rounded out with superb acting from Lin Shaye, whose character is the equivalent to the short psychic with the small voice in Poltergeist and by Barbara Hersey who plays Wilson’s mother. Don’t even get me started on the writing. At every place where there should have been a jolt, there was. The script was pitch perfect throughout and far exceeded my expectations. I swear to you the devil sat in on their scriptwriting session. I was so freaked out that that night I slept with TBN playing all night just so I could get some sleep.
So if this sounds like your type of film grab some friends, a crucifix, some holy water and a box of Rasinettes and go rent Insidious. A word to the wise, be sure to eat the Rasinettes first. Once this film gets going, you’re liable to spill them all over yourself and your house while screaming. For added fun, rent this film for your Halloween party this year. You will freak your friends out and will be cool to watch them all scream their heads off.