“Insidious (2010),” I assume, gets some of its inspiration from “Poltergeist” (1982) and “Dreamscape” (1984). In terms of the similarities of “Poltergeist,” it uses a psychic and ghost hunters to help a family deal with the supernatural. In terms of “Dreamscape,” the film uses a term called “Astral projection,” which is similar to what Dennis Quaid uses in “Dreamscape,” for Quaid uses a form of telepathy to go into ones dreams.
In Insidious, the father and son were born with the gift of astral projection, which gives them the gift to wander in and out of the physical body and into the realm of the afterlife. However, astral projection can be any type of wondering from the physical body: in dreams, in other realms of reality-it is an out-of-body phenomenon. In addition, I assume anyone can experience this, but it takes practice. However, some are born with the gift to easily fall into this realm, and this is what happens to Dalton (Ty Simpkins), the son of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne). They find out, later in the movie, that their son has this special gift. Unfortunately, he has been lost in an evil realm of the afterlife, where he is among ghosts and demons. One demon, in particular, wants to enter his physical body, and by doing so, will live again, through Dalton’s physical body. If the demon enters Dalton’s body, Dalton will be left in a state of limbo in the realm he is currently in-in the film, the realm is called “the further.”
This is the plot of the movie, but before you are told of this, you are spooked by the spirits that inhabit the house, which are part of the realm Dalton is stuck in. And this is where it becomes quite good, in terms of becoming a really scary, spooky movie. It has many jump-out-of-your-seat moments. Even though this is a contrivance, it does it in such a way that it works. The movie plays itself as a straight haunted house movie, with a twist of astral projection towards the end.
Patrick Wilson does a good job as the father/husband role, as well as the other actors. One character that stands out is Lin Shaye, who plays Elise Rainier, a psychic, who tries to help the Lambert family get their son back from “the further.” Her character reminds me of Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) in “Poltergeist,” where she tries to get Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke) back from a similarly supernatural realm.
Thus, Insidious is a good horror movie, with many spooky scenes, even though it took some plot lines from other movies. However, it does stand alone as a good horror movie that is enjoyably scary.
Director: James Wan
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye