Insidious: putting the fun back into horror?

Could Insidious have remembered what many recent horror movies have forgotten, wonders Sarah?


Horror movies haven’t been much fun over the past few years. Ever since Saw and Hostel kick-started the torture porn trend, horror films have been getting increasingly miserable. Each new movie tried to be more ‘extreme’ than the last, and making the audience suffer (or walk out, or throw up) was the ultimate goal.

But there are only so many depictions of extreme suffering a horror fan can sit through before giving up. Luckily, there’s Insidious, a new movie by the creators of Saw that’s exactly the pick-me-up the genre needed.

Written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, Insidious is a revamp of the traditional haunted house movie that tackles the main problem with those movies, namely, that if your house was that haunted, you’d just move.

There’s no such easy solution in Insidious. There’s an obvious comparison to be drawn with Paranormal Activity (and, actually, Insidious was produced by Oren Peli, who directed that), ┬ábut while Paranormal Activity was a slow burner that made you work for your scares, Insidious shows no such restraint. And it’s all the more fun for it.

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Insidious is a perfect ghost train of a movie. It starts off slow, building anticipation and suspense, then suddenly speeds up and doesn’t let up until the end. There are monsters lurking behind every corner, including some you’ve never seen before (but will probably be seeing again in your nightmares). There’s just the right amount of time between scares, just the right amount of comic relief that you’ll relax just enough to really feel it the next time the scary violins screech and something horrible pops up.

The shrieks and gasps of your fellow riders only add to the fun. This is an experience that demands an audience, and someone to dissect it with afterwards.

And yeah, it’s running on rails, and you know more or less where you’re going to end up, but while you’re strapped in, it’s a hell of a fun ride.

There’s no sex, no drugs, no gore and very little swearing in Insidious, which means it’s earned itself a 15 rating in the UK. Don’t be put off, though. It doesn’t need any of those things to reduce you to a gibbering wreck.

I’ve never been so scared inside a cinema as I was in the last half an hour of Insidious. My heart rate didn’t go back to normal for about an hour. I want to go again.

More like this, please.

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