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Author Topic: Insidious (refreshingly subtle horror film)  (Read 518 times)
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Blackjack
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« on: May 02, 2011, 02:56:54 PM »

I finally caught this refreshingly subtle, low-gore (not sure it has any, despite the "from the makers of Paranormal Activity and Saw" tagline) low-budget ($1.5M) horror film yesterday.
http://www.insidious-movie.com/

Although it's not playing many places now (it opened April 1), it has quietly chugged to a $46M+ box office.

'Insidious' Lingers Longer Than Expected
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3148&p=.htm

It has imho a fine cast for such a low budget, including Barbara Hershey and Rose Byrne (from FX's damages). You might recognize Patrick Wilson from Watchmen, or the Samuel Jackson thriller Lakeview Terrace (2008, and getting some TV play on cable).

I think it's a bit unfortunate that the posters make it seem like some sort of Omen-like "possessed maniac child" movie, and it's nothing like that at all.

Technically it's really from the team on the first Saw (director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell), but it's completely different in feel. Well, OK,...
Spoiler for Hiden:
The main baddy demonwhatever later, when he's spinning those finger blades on his sharpening wheel, looks a little too much like a "Jigsaw" Saw prop...
Whannell (you might remember him as the dope at the end of Saw, chained to a pipe) insists on acting again -- I think he's a lot better (less bad?  icon_smile icon_smile icon_smile) in this than he was in Saw, fwiw. The Paranormal Activity angle is producer Jason Blum.

With maybe one or two wee exceptions late in the movie, it's really more about mood, shadows, lighting and overall creepiness than gore or torture. And I literally did jump out of my seat twice, sending some of my popcorn flying.  icon_smile

Some reviewers complained the first 2/3 of the movie is more Paranormal Activity, the last third too much like Saw. I steeled myself for that but I didn't think the last part of the movie veered *that* far away from the early parts. Perhaps it does "try a little too hard" late in the movie, instead of reveling in restraint.

The ending? Well, I think...
Spoiler for Hiden:
imho, it's just too "in your face" that Patrick Wilson's character is finally "replaced" by this lady demon whatever. I think it might've been creepier if the elderly woman member of the "ghostbusters team" (I don't know what to call them icon_razz) took Wilson's character's picture and didn't notice anything initially. And then maybe as she leaves the house, she looks at it again, notices the lady-demon in the image, turns around, and the door slams shut. Then you let the audience's imagination run wild about what happens to the family inside the house.  paranoid
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 04:42:09 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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PR_GMR
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 03:09:20 PM »

Watched it last weekend. It's pretty good. Not amazingly great. But it was produced for one million dollars and will break 50 mill this week. That's a major success for a horror flick.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 05:24:21 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on May 02, 2011, 03:09:20 PM

Watched it last weekend. It's pretty good. Not amazingly great.
Hmmm, I thought it was "amazingly good."  icon_lol

I really think people pay too much attention to box office numbers instead of (I know it's Nerdy) looking at Production Cost + Marketing compared to the box office take. A lot of upcoming summer blockbusters are $100M-$200M+ productions plus insane marketing costs and need to churn up $300M just to break even in some cases.

Even if Insidious' marketing costs matched its budget ($1.5M), it would still have taken in about 15 times the cost to make/market it so far. I'm not crazy about Saw, but I am kind of impressed that Wan/Whannell have apparently resisted the idea of going Big Budget on their ensuing films (I assume Saw's success bought them some ability to get a bigger budget if they wanted to). It seems like they know what their strengths are.
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 06:16:59 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on May 02, 2011, 05:24:21 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on May 02, 2011, 03:09:20 PM

Watched it last weekend. It's pretty good. Not amazingly great.
Hmmm, I thought it was "amazingly good."  icon_lol


I give it a B+. The concept's novel, and they mostly get all their bases right. My bit criticism with the movie is the acting. James Wan sorta drops the ball a couple of times with his directing of the main leads. Patrick Wilson, for example, is a really good actor, but there are some scenes here where Wan just selects bad acting takes that make him and the lead female just like amateurs. My guess is the film was shot rather quickly with that $1.5 mill budget and some of the performances were a bit raw. But, that's neither here nor there, it's a solid movie and very worthy of people's time. That's why it has reached over 50 mill. People are digging it, and that's to be commended. Most horror flicks nowadays--even good ones-- fade away with less than 20 mill at the box office.
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theohall
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 09:00:12 PM »

Sadly - I wanted to MST3K this film 10 minutes into it to make it better.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The Further????  Why not just leave it at the Astral plane and quick making up idiotic names?

It's a dream world.  Who needs to carry a light in a dream?  Just imagine your own.  But that wouldn't have made it seem spooky.

The early "no pictures of Dad" line already told me there was something up with Dad and that photo would be significant at some point.  Check!

"Come to my voice" - so everyone stops talking when it's convenient for them not to be talking in terms of "creating suspense" in <insert spookie voice> the Further.

I could go back to the beginning and go through all these thoughts, but MST3K started rolling through my mind so early in this, it's hard to remember all of them.
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 04:54:17 AM »

I just got around to this.  I agree that it was okay, but not great.  Kind of fell apart at the end.  A big part of thatw as putting so much of the weight on Patrick Wilson's shoulders, who I thougt was pretty terrible.  I didn't have much of a problem with anyone else, though.

I agree with PR that Wan seemed to drop the ball at some points (though I don't blame him for Wilson).

The movie us fairly mechanical, with some clearly mapped out startle moments, but a kind of ambling tension.  However, I have to give it credit for two clever ideas.

Spoiler for Hiden:
This is the first haunted house movie where the family did just what everyone tells them to do: get out of the house.  Still didn't go well for them (because it's not a haunted house movie (twist! [/Shyamalan mode]). Also, despite the ridiculous name of The FurtherTM, the idea of a lost astral projection walker's body being up for grabs is pretty clever, even if there was no other way to discover that information than the exposition psychic.

Side note about the light- that is the light he imagined.

Anyway, I already bought the sequel, but I don't know when or if I'll get around to it, since while I didn't hate it, I would say I was mildly disappointed.
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rittchard
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 11:47:54 PM »

I just saw the sequel recently.  Wasn't very scary but it tied the story from Part 1 up fairly nicely, so if you are like me and you enjoy story/character resolution, you'll probably want to watch the sequel.
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 01:14:22 PM »

That's good to hear.

The cover makes me suspect that Rose Byrne is more at the forefront this go 'round instead of the lame husband.  Of course, the last cover made me suspect that the movie would be an Omen thing, so I'm reluctant to trust the evidence.
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Blackjack
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 01:34:55 PM »

I found the Insidious sequel annoying and pretty pointless. In fact, forgot the whole movie the moment I left the theater. I can show you my ticket stub but Damned if I can remember what happened.  icon_razz
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 05:29:53 PM »

I started to watch it, but stopped about 20 minutes into it to due to the way they were handling the crime that was committed at the end of the first movie.  They had a victim, they had the obvious suspect, but the guy's walking around free at the start of the sequel?  That bugged me for some reason.
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 05:54:26 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on January 27, 2014, 05:29:53 PM

I started to watch it, but stopped about 20 minutes into it to due to the way they were handling the crime that was committed at the end of the first movie.  They had a victim, they had the obvious suspect, but the guy's walking around free at the start of the sequel?  That bugged me for some reason.
Yeah, I remember not feeling good about the shift from the way the first film ended to how the first one began.

Hey I never thought to dig up this thread and share any thoughts on the sequel, which should indicate how I didn't feel about it  icon_neutral

I really did like the first one though I shared the view the latter part of the first film sort of slid off the rails into, well, let's say Less Subtle Horror.

Likewise, I went on and on about finding The Last Exorcism fascinating until it slid off the rails into a "found camera footage" finale that seemed tacked on and utterly out of whack with the rest of the film.
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hepcat
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 06:11:43 PM »

I actually liked the ending of The Last Exorcism.  However, the sequel is without a doubt, one of the worst pieces of crap I've ever seen. 
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 06:28:13 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on January 27, 2014, 05:29:53 PM

I started to watch it, but stopped about 20 minutes into it to due to the way they were handling the crime that was committed at the end of the first movie.  They had a victim, they had the obvious suspect, but the guy's walking around free at the start of the sequel?  That bugged me for some reason.

I guess I didn't remember that much of the first movie so it didn't bug me.  I didn't think there was an obvious suspect for that lady dying was there?  Unless you meant Patrick Wilson?  But wouldn't that only be obvious if you believed he was possessed or whatever?  Oh well, I honestly don't remember lol.

Anyway, I still thought the sequel did a nice job of completing the story from the first movie, particularly filling in the details from the past.  There wasn't much edge to the movie but I felt like I got some decent back-story as well as closure on the main characters/villains. 

If you do watch the whole thing, there was one scene in particular I was curious about:

Spoiler for Hiden:
I don't remember the exact detail, but there was a scene toward the end where you see some action that supposedly took place in the time frame of the first movie, but from a different perspective due to the time travel-ish nature of the story.  My question was whether that scene was actually shown in the first movie (and left ambiguous) or not.
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