Tuesday 17 May 2011

152: Review - Insidious

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

17 May 2011. Location: Cinema

10 '' Horror movie generator 1.0
20 '' This version ©MightyBlackout
30 '' Although I make no claim to have
40 '' developed this formula
60 '' This is the Initial Film Setup
70 Dim TENSION as Integer. Dim ENDING as Integer.
80 Idyllic scene ON
90 Desaturate colour pallette ON
100 TENSION =0
110 Goto 220
130 '' This is the JUMP subroutine ''
140 Desaturate colour pallette even more ON
150 Handheld-cam with closeup ON
160 Character in shot loud breathing ON
170 ACTIVATE Loud noise with scary face
180 Reset all
200 Goto 220
220 '' This is the FILM PLOT subroutine ''
250 if TENSION =5 then Goto 130
260 if ENDING =10 then Goto 290
270 Goto 220
290 '' This is the FILM ENDING subroutine ''
300 ACTIVATE plot callbacks to earlier visual clues
310 ACTIVATE batshit crazy climactic scene
320 Apparent happy ending =1
330 ACTIVATE everyone smiling and that
340 Unexpected twist =1
350 Apparent happy ending =0
360 Level of surprise =0
370 Credits
380 Exit

I think that's me done with mainstream supernatural horror. With the best will in the world, it's been a fun ride, but it's not fun enough these days. Oh, I'll still watch zombie movies and the odd Saw film, but ghosts, possessions and the restless souls of the dead seems to be getting a bit old now.

Insidious, for example, should be a fantastic film. Even though the little boy that's causing the supernatural manifestations is acting like a magnet to the dead, and director James Wan uses that as an excuse to drop in just about every stereotype associated with horror movies (and even drops in a demon that looks a bit like Darth Maul for some reason), it's still VERY nicely made. Unfortunately, it's more formulaic than it is nice. In all honesty, I had more fun counting off the above program against the film than I had with the film itself. The jumps are in the right place, and they're beautifully executed, but there's no real suspense there. In fact, once the reason for the trouble is explained about half way into the film, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. Because once you have a reason for what's going on, it's even more transparent.

I promise you, I'm not that guy who sits and says "oh, well I had that figured out from the start". I like to get immersed in a film and experience events as the characters do. But when they're this telegraphed, I can't help but sit back and chuckle at it all.

Like so many horror movies these days, this is ideal for the kids who haven't seen many horror movies. For me? It's getting a little predictable if I'm honest. And not in a good way.

Oh, and advice for the director: When your name's on screen at the start of the film, it's not really an easter egg to have your own name written on the blackboard at head-height behind your teacher character ten minutes later. In fact, it really rather draws the eye. As does the chalk drawing of the Jigsaw doll underneath it. We know you directed Saw, James, we read it on the posters.


I'll give it a flat-4 because it is well made, it's just not for me any more.
Enjoy, you kids.

EDIT: Further to Tony's comment below, I remembered after publishing that the scene where Patrick Wilson finds his son in apparent coma is put together using two intercut shots. In shot one, the boy is in bed, with his teddy bear tucked up neatly in bed beside him. In the other shot, the bear is at an angle and the blanket is covering less of it. The bear isn't 'background', it's in the main shot. We cut between the two shots about six times. The boy may be comatose, but the bear appears to be doing the hokey cokey.
Props to Tony for spotting the others :)

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. love it. well done on spotting those easter eggs, I also spotted some major flaws of continuity or rather gaffs, ! int he first house when you are drawn to the clock, you can blatantly see the cameraman in the picture reflection on the second still on the left side wall. also when they are gathered at the door, the cast on the revers POV shot are not seen but the man with the massive arri lighting rig and camera are! this film is shoddily put together, as a rush for the cinema, because of its producer / director credentials! its guessable . tripe, and should have gone straight to £3 DVD. astro planing....lol