Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A few years ago director James Wan wrote and directed the movie ‘Dead Silence’. To this day ‘Dead Silence’ is one of my favorite horror movies. I’m not even a big fan of horror movies but I liked me some ‘Dead Silence’. For my money you really can’t go wrong with ventriloquist dummies, arguably the most evil looking thing ever created this side of Ronald McDonald. I also like the young man’s revenge flick ‘Death Sentence’. It looks like I’m a James Wan fan, even though I was completely unaware of this. This brings us to my man’s latest horror joint ‘Insidious’ which unlike those other two movies are actually getting some positive critical buzz. I just can’t seem to get these things right.

The Lambert’s have just moved into a glorious new house. There’s Josh, played by Patrick Wilson, who is a hard working school teacher and then there’s the incredibly sad eyes of actress Rose Byrne who will lend her talents to the role of Renai. Even when Rose Byrne smiles she looks sad. Right off the bat there’s something strange in this house as things are rearranged, things are knocked down and it doesn’t look like any of the Lambert’s three children are doing any of these things. One of these kids is a baby so at least we’re pretty sure it’s not her. About that baby… Man, that baby cried all the time in this movie. They had to look far and wide to find a baby as miserable as the baby they used in this movie. She was not happy.

One day silly little Dalton (Ty Simpkins) was messing around in the attic, where he shouldn’t have been, and bumped his noggin. He seemed just fine but the next morning he didn’t wake up. Even though his vitals are fine and his brain activity is normal, Dalton is in a coma. Even though this event will almost destroy the Lamberts, this is almost the good news as this thing continues to play out. You see, soon Renai will start hearing all kinds of weird sounds and seeing all kinds of strange things like dead people running through her house causing a ruckus. This is almost never a good thing. Her husband knows that something is wrong but he prefers to deal with things by not dealing with them at all. Plus he has his own issues. While looking at a photo album Renai observed that there are no pictures of Josh as a kid, and it’s not like they throw out comments like this as idle conversation in these kinds of movies. Plus his mom is played by Barbara Hershey. Not a lot of people look freakier than Barbara Hershey.

The problem is clearly with the house so the Lambert’s move. If you’ve seen the trailer you know the problem isn’t with the house, it’s with Dalton. Now we can’t get all into what’s up with Dalton because it would spoil everything, but Dalton is in trouble and to that end Josh’s Mom happens to know a ghost hunter named Elise (Lin Shaye) who might be able to help. Hmm…. Why in the world does mom know a ghost hunter? I’m sure they’re just bridge partners or something. Regardless, the fact remains that Dalton needs our help which means it’s time to make a special trip to The Further…

The first problem I had with ‘Insidious’, and it has nothing to do with the movie, is that I don’t frighten anymore. The last time I was genuinely afraid about something,it happened years ago and involved my brother and a pair of Zany Zappers. If you don’t know what Zany Zappers are I can’t help you, but recognize it’s probably the dumbest thing ever invented. I do have nightmares every once in a while but they usually involve things that are real, like the recurring one I have that involves Dick Cheney floating over my bed, but fright just doesn’t happen anymore. So despite some of the really creepy imagery that Team-Wan concocted and the occasional orchestra hit that accompanied some designed jump-scare, I never felt intimidated by this movie. As opposed to those dummies in ‘Dead Silence’. Ventriloquist Dummies are very real. Nonetheless I was intrigued by the story that ‘Insidious’ was telling us because the movie is well paced, Rose Byrne and her sad eyes were being put to great use and we knew there was a mystery with Josh that had to be revealed to us. And when Elise showed up along with her comic relief ghost hunter assistants (Leigh Wannell and Angus Sampson) and started breaking down the concept of The Further, now I’m all in because I really can’t wait to go there.

Thus lays my biggest disappointment with ‘Insidious’ in that our journey to The Further was so underwhelming. Plus it wasn’t even all that far. It wasn’t even around the corner much less Further. Elise should’ve just called it The Upstairs or The Bonus Room. Where I was expecting a virtual chamber of horrors when we made it to The Further, instead I got something more along the lines of a circus sideshow featuring Darth Maul that got progressively sillier the deeper we went in. And just once can we have a horror movie that does not have a second ending. You know… yay! We win! Oh no… it’s not over yet! What are we gonna do? Just once. Now that would be a twist.

But then can you seriously take the word of somebody who doesn’t believe in ghosts and Darth Maul demons but is scared to death of Ventriloquist dummies, Ronald McDonald and Dick Cheney? Uh… yeah… because all three of those are real and very dangerous… thank you very much.

Real Time Web