Insidious (film)

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Insidious poster.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by James Wan
Produced by Jason Blum
Steven Schneider
Oren Peli
Written by Leigh Whannell
Starring Patrick Wilson
Rose Byrne
Barbara Hershey
Music by Joseph Bishara
Cinematography John R. Leonetti
David M. Brewer
Edited by James Wan
Kirk Morri
Distributed by FilmDistrict (USA)
Momentum Pictures (UK)
Release dates
  • September 14, 2010 (2010-09-14) (TIFF)
  • April 1, 2011 (2011-04-01) (United States)[1]
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.5 million[2]
Box office $97,009,150[3]

Insidious is a 2010 American[4] supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment in a series. The story, bearing strong resemblance to the 1982 classic Poltergeist, centers around 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,[1] 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. The next film in the series, Insidious: Chapter 3 is set to be released on May 29, 2015.


Renai, (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) Lambert just recently moved into their new house with their two sons Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and Foster (Andrew Astor), and their baby daughter Cali.

One morning, Renai is looking at family photos with Dalton. Dalton then asks why there aren't any pictures of Josh when he was a child. Renai explains that Josh is camera shy and also dislikes taking photos himself.

One night while Dalton is upstairs playing with his toys, he hears a mysterious creaking noise, and sees the door to the attic mysteriously opening by itself and then goes upstairs to investigate. He then falls off a ladder while trying to turn on the light, and stares into the darkness as if he was looking at something terrifying and then starts screaming and crying.

Renai and Josh both hear Dalton's screams, and they then tell him that the attic is off limits. The next morning, Dalton doesn't wake up from his sleep, and Renai and Josh, with panic, send him to the hospital where they find out that he is in a coma.

3 months later, Dalton is back home, but is still in his coma. While playing piano, Renai hears a sinister voice on the baby monitor saying "I want it... NOW!" Renai goes to Cali's room but finds no one there. Things get even more creepy when Foster tells Renai that he doesn't like it when Dalton "walks around" at night. That night, Renai sees a strange, but terrifying man in Cali's room, and the alarms to the house start to turn on by itself.

The next day, Renai sees a bloody handprint on Dalton's bed. That night , Renai sees the sees the man from Cali's room in front of her room, and attacks her. Renai begs Josh if they could leave, and he agrees.

In the second house though, Renai sees a little boy dancing to a record and follows it into Dalton's room where the boy pops out of the closet and runs away. Later that day, Josh's mother Lorraine, (Barbara Hershey) tells them about a dream that she had: she was in Dalton's room, but there was a strange demonic figure in there with them. When she asked it what it wanted, the figure replied, "I want Dalton." Lorraine then sees the same figure behind Josh roaring at her. Dalton is then violently attacked in his room.

Lorraine then calls paranormal investigators Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), Specs (Leigh Whannell), and Tucker (Angus Sampson). While they are all in Dalton's room, Elise senses something, and Specs draws the same demonic figure Lorraine saw.

Elise then explains that Dalton was never in a coma and that falling off the latter had nothing to do with it. She then explains that Dalton has the ability to astral project: the ability to leave your body and to travel to different places, but in astral form, and that he has fearlessly (he believes his projections are dreams) traveled too far and has consequently become lost in a spirit realm called "The Further"-a place for the tortured souls of the dead. Without Dalton's astral projection, he is just a lifeless body, explaining why Renai was seeing all of these ghosts. Josh is skeptical at first, but he then sees that almost all of Dalton's pictures were of the same demonic figure Elise drew, and then brings her back.

Elise then performs a seance to communicate with Dalton, but then the demon starts to talk to her, and starts shouting obscenities and extremely violent threats toward the group. Dalton then gets up, and starts attacking the group implying that the demon had finally possessed him. Elise is then able to get the demon out of Dalton's body. Elise then calls Lorraine over, and she explains that the reason why she knows Elise so well is because she called her herself once to help Josh, and Elise explains that the reason why Dalton is able to astral project is because he got it from Josh. When he was about 8 years old, Josh used to tell Lorraine about an old woman who would visit him at night. Lorraine obviously didn't believe him, but she then discovered that every time she took a photo of Josh, she would see a shadowy old woman in each picture, explaining Josh's fear of photos. Elise tells Josh that the only way to rescue Dalton is if he goes into the Further himself.

Elise then puts Josh in a trance, and he awakens to find out that he has astral projected. Josh finds the house where the Lamberts used to live in and goes to the attic, and finds a red door. Inside is the Further, and Josh then finds Dalton chained to the floor, and then frees him, but the demon catches them, and he and Josh get into a fight. Josh the escapes the lair with Dalton with the demon in pursuit. They then make it back to the house, and Josh then confronts the old woman. The old woman then fades into total darkness and Josh and Dalton wake up.

While Renai, Dalton, and Lorraine are chatting in the kitchen, Josh and Elise are packing up after the long night, but Elise senses something and quickly takes a photo of Josh. He then goes into rage, and starts to strangle her. Renai then hears Josh's yelling in the kitchen. And enters the living room to find Elise dead, Josh gone, and the house dead silent. She then picks up the camera, and lets out a horrifying gasp.

Apparently what Elise saw was Josh's dirty finger nails, similar to the old woman's implying that she possessed him. Josh then appears behind Renai and says, "Renai, I'm right here." Renai then faces the camera with her face frozen in horror.

In the post credits sequence, we see the old woman blowing out a candle making the screen fade to pitch black.


Insidious entities[edit]

  • Joseph Bishara as the Lipstick-Face Demon
  • J. LaRose as the Long Haired Fiend
  • Philip Friedman as the Old Woman
  • Kelly Devoto and Corbett Tuck as Doll girls
  • Lary Crews as the Whistling Ghost Dad
  • Jose Prendes as Top Hat Guy
  • Caslin Rose as the Ghoul / Contortionist (uncredited)



Principal photography for Insidious was completed over the course of three weeks in 2010, from late April to mid-May at the historic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles.[5] 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."[6]


The musical score to Insidious was composed by Joseph Bishara, who also appears in the film as the demon.[5] 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.[7] 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?'"[8]

An exclusively digital soundtrack album was released by Void Recordings on October 11, 2011.[9] Additional songs featured in the film include:



The first promotional clip from Insidious was released on September 14, 2010.[10] The following December, production company IM Global released an image and sales poster for the film.[11] On January 22, 2011, FilmDistrict released the first teaser trailer for the film.[12] Less than a month later, the film's theatrical trailer was made available online via daily entertainment news wire Blastr.[13]

Theatrical release[edit]

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.[14][15] 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.[16] The film was also screened at South by Southwest in mid-March 2011.[17]

Theatrical Re-Release[edit]

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.

Home media[edit]

Insidious was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 12, 2011 through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.[18] The Blu-ray bonus content includes three featurettes: Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar, On Set With Insidious, and Insidious Entities.[19] 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.[20]


Critical response[edit]

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."[21] 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".[22]

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."[23] 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."[24] 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."[25]

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."[26] 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."[27] 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."[28] 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."[29]

Box office[edit]

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.[30] Insidious was the most profitable film of 2011.[31]


Year Result Award Category Recipient
2011 Won Fright Meter Awards Best Horror Film James Wan
Leigh Whannell
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


Main article: Insidious: Chapter 2

A sequel for Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released on September 13, 2013. In November 2011, it was reported that Sony Pictures had registered online domain names for a second film.[32]

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 be released May 29, 2015.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Karen Benardello (December 30, 2010). "Haunted House Film Insidious To Be Released on April Fool's Day". Crave Online. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (March 31, 2011). "Movie Projector: "Hop" will jump over rivals this weekend". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Insidious (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  4. ^ Hoovert, John (March 28, 2011). "SXSW: Interview with Insidious Director James Wan". Lost In Reviews. 
  5. ^ a b Turek, Ryan (May 18, 2010). "Exclusive Set Report: James Wan Talks Insidious". Crave Online. Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  6. ^ Gingold, Michael (April 1, 2011). ""INSIDIOUS": Raising Fear". Fangoria. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ Comerford, Jason (2011). "Insidious by Joseph Bishara". Howlin' Wolf Records. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  8. ^ Messer, Ron (April 4, 2011). "James Wan & Leigh Whannell INSIDIOUS Interview; The SAW Creators Also Discuss Their Untitled Sci-Fi Project, NIGHTFALL, and Recent Horror Remakes". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  9. ^ " Insidious: Joseph Bishara". Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  10. ^ Tassi, Paul (September 14, 2010). "First clip of Insidious from Saw's James Wan". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  11. ^ "New ‘Insidious’ Image, Sales Poster". Bloody Disgusting. December 13, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ Knowles, Harry (January 22, 2011). "James Wan wants you to check out something... INSIDIOUS!!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ Edelman, Scott (February 16, 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Terrifyingly creepy trailer for James Wan's Insidious". Blastr. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (September 15, 2010). "Toronto International Film Festival 2010: Insidious, Super and Rabbit Hole". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (September 15, 2010). "Sony Pictures Worldwide Buys ‘Insidious’". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  16. ^ Fischer, Russ (December 29, 2010). "James Wan’s ‘Insidious’ To Release on April 1, 2011". /Film. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (February 10, 2013). "SXSW: ‘Insidious’ leads sci-fi and horror horde in Texas [updated]". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  18. ^ " Insidious [Blu-ray]". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  19. ^ Katz, Josh (May 25, 2011). "Insidious Blu-ray". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  20. ^ Katz, Josh (June 30, 2011). "Special Screening: Insidious". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  21. ^ Rotten Tomatoes by Flixster (2011). "Insidious (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes by Flixster. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  22. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 31, 2011). "Insidious". Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  23. ^ Hale, Mike (2011-03-31). "Movie Review – Insidious". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  24. ^ James Berardinelli (2011-04-02). "Insidious". Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  25. ^ Ethan Gilsdorf (2011-04-01). "Insidious". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  26. ^ John Anderson (2011-04-01). "'Insidious': Scary Eyeful of the Unknown". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  27. ^ Michael Phillips (2011-03-31). "Insidious Movie Review". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  28. ^ Peter Travers (2011-03-31). "Insidious". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  29. ^ Lemire, Christy (2011-03-30). "Review: 'Insidious' mixes shocks and laughs". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  30. ^ Box Office Mojo. "Insidious". Box Office Mojo., Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  31. ^ Staff (February 3, 2012). "James Wan in Talks to Direct "Insidious" Sequel". WorstPreviews. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  32. ^ J.B. (November 30, 2011). "Insidious 2 is in the works according to domain registrations by Sony Pictures". Fusible. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  33. ^ "Insidious 3 is in the works". 

External links[edit]