#28 -- Insidious (2011)

Director: James Wan
Rating: 3.5 / 5

I am always complaining that people do not know how to make horror movies these days (mostly big names/blockbusters). In general, I'm not wrong there. But this one, I think, is one of the few exceptions. Sometimes I like to read other reviews of movies before I review them myself, so that I can see how my opinion relates to others' opinions. As usual, mine is the opposite. The review that I read for this one claimed that it is the least scary movie ever seen. The reviewer must be much more brave than I am, because it definitely scared me. The reviewer also complained of lack of special effects. It is true, there weren't many; the movie relied mostly on lighting for its scares - and that is what makes something terrifying to me. And also, it's the simplicity of a film that makes it special, a lot of the time. Maybe it's just me, but that's okay, because I don't have to agree with what other people think.

I didn't expect much from this one, from what I got from the previews. It said something about a boy being haunted, and I took that as meaning that the boy had become possessed. I've never been a huge fan of possession stories, and the fact that the DVD cover read "The scariest movie since The Exorcist" didn't really mean much to me (because The Exorcist wasn't scary at all). However, it turns out that, while it was about possession, it didn't focus on that alone. It was something that I'd never seen before; it was unique and that, too, made it special to me. 

A family of five (mother, father, two boys and a baby girl) move into a new home. One of the boys, Dalton, has an accident, and shortly after falls into a coma. The doctor is puzzled, because it isn't like any coma he's seen before. There was no brain damage, and the boy seemed perfectly fine, physically. It was as if he was just asleep, and couldn't wake up. 

They send him home to be taken care of by his parents and, shortly after, strange things being to happen. Dalton's mother, Renai, starts seeing and hearing things that have got her terrified. She sees a strange person staring at her infant daughter through the window, a small boy (neither of hers) running through the house laughing, a man pacing outside of her window; she hears strange voices whispering through her daughter's baby monitor. After a little while, she decides that she cannot take it anymore. She tells her husband, Josh, that she wants to leave. She believes there is something wrong with the house, so they move to a different one. They soon learn, though, that - as the previews say - it's not the house that's haunted. Strange things continue to happen. When she sees a bloody handprint on her coma-ridden son's bed, she knows something is wrong. Her husband's mother refers her to a specialist - a group of paranormal experts. 

After some testing, the leader of the experts explains to them what she thinks is going on. Dalton is not in a coma - he is lost. She believes that he has a knack for astral projection. He is very talented and does it often. But since he's gotten used to doing it, he's gotten brave. He's traveled too far and has gotten lost. He needs to find his way back home in order to wake up. After a while, Josh's mother reveals to him that he is able to astral project as well. She shows him photos of himself, with a spooky ghostly woman in the background. These creatures, demons - whatever you want to call them - are trying to get to Dalton. Well, they want his physical body. While his astral body is trapped in what they call "the further," the demons are trying to get inside his physical body, and that is what Renai has been seeing/hearing. When Josh learns of his ability, he goes in after his son. There are many of these ghostly creatures, and each of them is frightening. They pop out of nowhere, and scare the shit of me. 

Finally, after struggling through the further, Josh and Dalton return home safely. Or so it seems. I won't reveal the ending exactly, but let's just say one of them doesn't quite make it. 

Is this the best movie I've ever seen? No, certainly not. But it entertained me. And yes, it did scare me. I'm not known to jump or be extremely startled during a horror movie, but this one did it. I can't even tell you how many times I jumped while watching this. As I said above, the demons showed up out of nowhere; I wasn't expecting it. You'd think that, after a couple of times, my guard would be up and I'd know that it was going to happen. But, no. It didn't quite work like that. I liked it because it was different from all the other possession movies that I've seen, and that's what the creators of horror movies (or movies in general) need to shoot for: something no one has ever seen before. 

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