Horror films are this generation’s (and last generation’s) Western genre. Meaning that there is a certain stamped trademark that occurs with them. Each time one is made there is a tribute and/or reminder of the last one.
To go even farther, you can also say that there are two types of horror films, like there are two types of Western films. The gore/slasher horror film that’s made purely for shock or entertainment value. Ala the plain shoot em up Cowboy movie without much of a point of theme to them. And the suspense horror film that’s about the human development as the situation of killing or ghost haunting are about the main character’s arc to become a more defined person. Ala the classic Western where they use the genre to showcase man’s struggles for interaction or human understanding. Some would call it the teen genres to the adult genres.
The problem with INSIDIOUS is that’s is right in between the two. Director James Wan is attempting to give us his adult version of the genre, but is still struggling to find his adult artistic voice as he goes back to his SAW roots to slasher “I can’t take this all that seriously” horror film in moments of the film that make you shake your head in disapproval.
Always be aware of the FALSE MOMENT. It’s every director’s ultimate fear. The moment in the film when you hear laughter from the audience when you shouldn’t hear it. The moment where an actor is delivering a line or action that doesn’t ring true. The moment that takes you right out of the storytelling experience and reminds you that you’re watching a movie. It’s the event in a movie that turns it from a excellent film to an average or poor film. And unfortunately the “false moment” happened too many time in INSIDIOUS.
The film went from mature to just plain silly in a matter of seconds! And it must pain Mr. James Wan so much. Why didn’t he go back and do a few reshoots of the scenes that didn’t work? Didn’t they have the money? I’m sure he could of paid for it himself with all of his SAW cash!
Watching a movie with a crowd teaches you a lot. You can tell when the room is one and everyone is hooked into the story that’s taking place. And it also tells you when the room is a 100 individuals who are analyzing or judging the story that’s taking place. And that’s what happened twice in INSIDIOUS. If those two moment don’t occur, then you have yourself a terrific film.
In a recent review of THE GUARDIAN (the Ashton Kutcher/Kevin Costner coast guard film), I talked about the switcheroo of a main character. The film where you’re following the journey of one character and then the creators switch the journey to another character mid-way through. The same happens in INSIDIOUS, and not until the third act. One moment you’re following the mother and then they switch us to following the father.
I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’ve seen it you might wonder why they just didn’t stick with the mother character all the way through. All they needed to do is give his storyline to her and it would of been that much more interesting. It’s like the film makers didn’t trust having a woman going through that type of back story. And it’s kind of stupid if you think about it because having her have that back story makes this movie that much more interesting.
I couldn’t help but wonder afterwards that if INSIDIOUS was directed by a more accomplished film maker it could of been a classic. But those types of ideas can get you in trouble because it’s just not fair to the people involved.
It’s not fair but it does make me think if say Stanley Kubrick directed this film. He would of really presented the underdeveloped theme of man needing to encounter his great fear in order to save his son. That would of made this a more suspenseful film that makes the audience think about things a little bit more. James Wan seemed to forget to have to point to the movie. And that is the downfall of it. Perhaps he’ll get it right next time around. They did set up a sequel in the ending! (something I’m not really happy about)