Theatrical film poster
|Directed by||James Wan|
|Produced by||Jason Blum
|Written by||Leigh Whannell|
|Music by||Joseph Bishara|
|Cinematography||John R. Leonetti
David M. Brewer
|Editing by||James Wan
Stage 6 Films
|Running time||103 minutes|
Insidious is a 2010 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. The story centers on a couple whose son inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension. The film was released in theaters on April 1, 2011, and is FilmDistrict's first theatrical release. A sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released on September 13, 2013, with Wan returning as director and Whannell returning as screenwriter. Because of the film's success it was turned into a maze for 2013's annual Halloween Horror Nights.
Renai and Josh Lambert have recently moved into a new home with their three children. One morning, Renai looks through a family photo album with her young son, Dalton, who asks why there are no pictures of Josh as a child. Renai reasons that Josh dislikes having his picture taken. Later, Dalton goes to investigate noises in the attic and falls down a broken ladder. The next day, he falls into a mysterious coma, with doctors being unable to give any explanation as to why.
Three months later, Dalton, still trapped in the coma, is moved back home. Disturbing supernatural events begin to occur, as Dalton's younger brother Foster claims that he doesn't like it when Dalton "walks around at night". After being attacked by a spectral figure one night, Renai convinces a skeptical Josh that the family should move, as she believes their house is haunted.
In the new house, the supernatural events resume, with Renai encountering the ghost of a little boy that runs around the home laughing. Josh's mother, Lorraine, visits one day and claims that she had a dream about a shadowy figure in Dalton's room and when asked what it wanted it responded "Dalton". Suddenly, Lorraine sees a monstrous, red-faced figure behind Josh and loud banging noises are heard as Dalton's bedroom is then ransacked by supernatural forces. Lorraine contacts a friend, Elise Reiner, who specializes in the investigation of paranormal activity. Elise enters Dalton's room and sees something on the ceiling, to which her assistant Specs draws a dark, demonic figure with a red face and hollow eyes; the same figure from Lorraine's dream.
Elise sits with the family and explains that Dalton isn't in a coma, but that he has the ability of astral projection. His spiritual body has become trapped in "The Further" – a place where tormented souls of the dead are condemned into eternal darkness. While Dalton's spirit is in this other world, his physical body is left as an empty vessel. The tormented souls in The Further and the demonic figure are all attempting to take over Dalton's lifeless body.
They run a session to try to communicate with Dalton, which results with the family and Elise's team being attacked by spirits and the demon. Elise and Lorraine reveal that Josh also holds the ability to astral project. As a child, he was terrorized by the parasitic spirit of an old woman who wanted to possess his body. This old woman would appear in every photo taken of Josh as a child, leading to his disdain for having his picture taken. Elise had helped Josh forget about his ability to astral project, but now suggests that Josh use his ability to find and return Dalton's soul. She places Josh in a trance and he is able to project his spirit body into the shadowy world of The Further. After encountering various spirits, Josh enters the demon's lair and discovers Dalton chained to the floor.
He sets Dalton free but the two are discovered and attacked by the demon. In the real world, the spirits of The Further begin to cross over, seeking to take hold of Dalton and Josh's bodies. Josh leaves his son to confront the spirit of the old woman, while Dalton flees from the demon. Moments later, Josh and Dalton both awaken in the real world and all of the spirits vanish. The family is now happily reunited; however, Elise senses something sinister and takes a picture of Josh. He promptly goes into a barbaric rage and strangles Elise to death. Renai comes in to find Elise dead and Josh gone. She checks Elise's camera and sees a picture of the old woman in Josh's place, implying that she has possessed Josh's body.
In a post-credits scene, the old woman (that possessed Josh) is seen blowing out a candle, plunging the screen into total darkness, just as the film ends.
- Patrick Wilson as Josh Lambert
- Josh Feldman as young Josh
- Rose Byrne as Renai Lambert
- Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier
- Ty Simpkins as Dalton Lambert
- Barbara Hershey as Lorraine Lambert
- Leigh Whannell as Specs
- Angus Sampson as Tucker
- Andrew Astor as Foster Lambert
- Heather Tocquigny as Nurse Kelly
- Corbett Tuck as Nurse Adele
- Ruben Pla as Dr. Sercarz
- John Henry Binder as Father Martin
- Joseph Bishara as the Lipstick-Face Demon
- Kelly Devoto and Corbett Tuck as Doll girls
- Philip Friedman as the Old Woman
- J. LaRose as the Long Haired Fiend
- Caslin Rose as the Ghoul / Contortionist (uncredited)
- Lary Crews as the Whistling Ghost Dad
- Jose Prendes as Top Hat Guy
Principal photography for Insidious was done over the course of three weeks in 2010, from late April to mid-May at the historic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. In regards to the shorter shooting schedule, actor Patrick Wilson explained, "We had long days and a lot of pages a day, and we didn’t get a lot of coverage or rehearsal. But luckily, the benefit of doing a movie that’s not on a big budget—and the reason it’s usually done like that—is so if the filmmakers feel like, ‘OK, we’re not going to sacrifice anything on screen,’ which I don’t think they have, it lets them have complete control. So we were in good hands."
The musical score to Insidious was composed by Joseph Bishara, who also appears in the film as the demon. Performed with a quartet and a piano, a bulk of the score was improvised and structured in the editing process, although some recording sessions began prior to filming. On describing the approach of the film's soundtrack, director James Wan explained, "We wanted a lot of the scare sequences to play really silent. But, what I like to do with the soundtrack is set you on edge with a really loud, sort of like, atonal scratchy violin score, mixing with some really weird piano bangs and take that away and all of a sudden, you’re like, 'What just happened there?'"
An exclusively digital soundtrack album was released by Void Recordings on October 11, 2011. Additional songs featured in the film include:
- "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" by Tiny Tim (1968)
- "Nuvole Bianche" by Ludovico Einaudi (2004)
- "Black Angels" by George Crumb (1971)
The first promotional clip from Insidious was released on September 14, 2010. The following December, production company IM Global released an image and sales poster for the film. On January 22, 2011, FilmDistrict released the first teaser trailer for the film. Less than a month later, the film's theatrical trailer was made available online via daily entertainment news wire Blastr.
Insidious had its world premiere in the Midnight Madness program at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 14, 2010. Less than 12 hours after its screening, the film was picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions for theatrical distribution. On December 29, 2010, it was announced that the film will be released theatrically on April 1, 2011 by the then-relatively new film company FilmDistrict. The film was also screened at South by Southwest in mid-March 2011.
On the night prior to Insidious: Chapter 2 theatrical wide release, the film was shown with its sequel as a double feature in select theaters.
Insidious was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 12, 2011 through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray bonus content includes three featurettes: Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar, On Set With Insidious, and Insidious Entities. On the day prior to the film's home media release, Sony Pictures and Fangoria hosted a free screening of the film at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles followed by an interactive Q&A with director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell.
Insidious has received generally positive reviews. Review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reports that 66% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 165 reviews, with an average score of 6.0. The critical consensus is: "Aside from a shaky final act, Insidious is a very scary and very fun haunted house thrill ride." Roger Ebert gave the film 2 1/2 stars out of 4 saying, "It depends on characters, atmosphere, sneaky happenings and mounting dread. This one is not terrifically good, but moviegoers will get what they're expecting." Steve O' Brien from WCBS-FM says " Most Terrifying Film since The Exorcist".
A number of negative reviews reported that the second half of the film did not match the development of the first. Mike Hale of The New York Times wrote that "the strongest analogue for the second half of Insidious is one that the filmmakers probably weren’t trying for: it feels like a less poetic version of an M. Night Shyamalan fairy tale." Similarly, James Berardinelli commented, "[i]f there's a complaint to be made about Insidious, it's that the film's second half is unable to live up to the impossibly high standards set by the first half." Ethan Gilsdorf of The Boston Globe wrote that "[t]he film begins with promise" but "[t]he crazy train of Insidious runs fully off the rails when the filmmakers go logical and some of the strange gets explained away as a double shot of demonic possession and astral projection."
Positive reviews have focused on the filmmakers' ability to build suspense. John Anderson of The Wall Street Journal explains "[w]hat makes a movie scary isn't what jumps out of the closet. It's what might jump out of the closet. The blood, the gore and the noise of so many fright films miss the horrifying point: Movie watchers are far more convinced, instinctively, that what we don't know will most assuredly hurt us... Insidious establishes that these folks can make a film that operates on an entirely different level, sans gore, or obvious gimmicks. And make flesh crawl." Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell admire all sorts of fright, from the blatant to the insidiously subtle. This one lies at an effective halfway point between those extremes." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone commented: "Here's a better-than-average spook house movie, mostly because Insidious decides it can haunt an audience without spraying it with blood." Christy Lemire of the Associated Press stated: "Insidious is the kind of movie you could watch with your eyes closed and still feel engrossed by it. It's a haunted-house thriller filled with all the usual creaking doors, groaning floors and things that go bump in the night, but it'll also grab you with some disturbing, raspy whispers on a baby monitor, a few melancholy piano plunkings and the panicky bleating of an alarm as a front door is mysteriously flung open in the middle of the night."
The film opened with $13,271,464, making it #3 at the domestic box office behind Hop and Source Code. It has since grossed a total of US$54,009,150 domestically and US$43,000,000 internationally, for a total of $97,009,150 worldwide. Insidious was the most profitable film of 2011.
|2011||Won||Fright Meter Awards||Best Horror Film||James Wan
|2011||Nominated||Fright Meter Awards||Best Director||James Wan|
|2011||Nominated||Fright Meter Awards||Best Actress||Rose Byrne|
|2011||Won||Fright Meter Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Lin Shaye|
|2011||Nominated||Fright Meter Awards||Best Screenplay||Leigh Whannell|
|2011||Nominated||2011 Scream Awards||Best Horror Film||−|
|2011||Nominated||2011 Scream Awards||Best Horror Actor||Patrick Wilson|
|2011||Nominated||2011 Scream Awards||Best Horror Actress||Rose Byrne|
Shortly after the release of the second franchise and due to its sellout, it was announced that a third part was being worked on, and will possibly be released April 2015.
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- Official website
- Insidious at the Internet Movie Database
- Insidious at Box Office Mojo
- Insidious at Rotten Tomatoes
- Insidious at Metacritic