If Zombies are the meat and potatoes of the horror genre, then creepy demonic possession flicks are the horror equivalent of eating pufferfish, in that it's a rare delicacy, and it can kill you if it's not prepared properly. Well, not really. I mean, eating badly-cooked pufferfish (otherwise known as fugu, I believe) can kill you, but people don't usually die of watching demonic possession movies. If they did, that would be both very bad, and the mark of an awesome horror movie, at the same time. Sure, Zombies are great horror movie fodder. Sure, you get your occasional frankenstein's monster, your werewolf, your dracula, but nothing scares the bejeesus out of the american public like a good demonic possession story. Think of The Exorcist, and how 42 years after its release, it's still the scariest movie of all time.
Insidious (2010) is another story about possession. I won't give away the plot, because it's difficult to do an intro to this movie without giving anything away, but let me paraphrase Elise (the psychic) when she explains a bit about the Further. The Further is a world beyond time where the dead gather, before moving on to other places. The Further is not meant for the living. It is filled with the deceased, the lost souls who wander eternally, and with other spirits. Spirits with a more insidious agenda, parasites, those who prey on the living... and worse.
Josh Lambert, the dad, is played by Patrick Wilson, of the Conjuring, and the upcoming Fargo series. Rose Byrne (of X-men, Neighbors, and 28 Weeks Later) plays his wife, and Elise the psychic is played by Lin Shaye, who may be more familiar to people who've seen Big Ass Spiders and Snakes on a Plane. I admit to not being overly familiar with Ms. Shaye's work, but a quick overview of her career from IMDB.com tells me she was in Brainsmasher, A Love Story (quite possibly Andrew Dice Clay's best work, and yes, I am serious), Critters 1 and 2, the Hidden, and the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Barbara Hershey plays Josh's mom, who I recall from The Entity, a pretty creepy horror flick from the early 80's. All the acting is pretty decent. Most of the special effects are okay, if a bit on the low-budget side, resulting in a few of the more common 'jump scares' and contributing a little towards the overall atmosphere.
I admit to being a little creeped out by Insidious, in an odd way. First off, I watched Insidious part 2 first, which is basically a continuation of the first movie. Yes, this is a two-part movie. The first part makes sense, but the second part continues the story and explains everything in the first movie in more detail. Insidious part 2 was on Netflix until last night, and never having seen the first or second movie, I didn't know they really needed to be viewed in order. Since Netflix was dropping Insidious 2 last night, I watched it first. I didn't have access to Insidious at the time, but I have since watched it on Crackle.com (and just noticed it's playing on Syfy channel right now). I don't know where you can watch Insidious 2 right now, but Insidious is still on crackle.com, and I think it's probably the better movie of the two movies, despite the second one basically being a continuation of the first movie, and starring all the cast members from the first one.
So, I'm watching Insidious 2, and I notice, hey, this is a decent horror flick. When I'm about halfway through, my nephew's daughter calls me to say hi. Since I haven't really talked to her in ages, I was a bit surprised. So I'm talking to her and there's a lot of static on the line because of the crappy portable phone. My nephew's daughter sounds just like she used to, which surprises me, because she's a teenager now, and should probably have sounded different than when she was 10 or 11, the last time I remember talking to her. So, we're talking and she asks me what I am watching, and I tell her Insidious part 2, not expecting her to have any idea what that was (especially considering that before last night, I had never even seen the movie). Being a bit of a horror movie fanatic, I'm used to normal people having no idea about the titles of the horror movies I am watching. So she asks me if I have seen the first one yet, or the third one. I confess I didn't even know there was a third one before she mentioned it, and while we're talking the static on the line clears up and she sounds completely different, more like a teenager would sound, and a lot less like my great-niece (or whatever you'd call my nephew's daughter). So she tells me I should probably watch them in order, in the voice of a stranger (since I haven't talked to her in ages), and honestly, this is not the type of girl I would ever have expected to know anything about horror movies. So, yes, after watching a creepy movie and getting a call from my long-lost great-niece, I admit to being a little weirded out by her extensive knowledge of scary movies. If this was an actual horror movie, I'd probably find out in a day or two that my great-niece has actually passed away, and that she died before I spoke to her on the phone. If she has, then I'm going to be REALLY creeped out. :-/ So, sure, all completely normal events, but I guess Insidious sort of got under my skin a bit. It is that kind of movie. As for my great-niece, I'm sure she's fine, and look forward to watching horror-movie marathons with her someday.
So, to sum up. Insidious 1 and 2, pretty decent horror movies. Insidious 3 out now, because they're flashing DVD and Blu-Ray ads for for Insidious 3 all through Insidious on SyFy. Insidious is on crackle.com, and good luck on finding Insidious 2. Also, I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat. Which, is actually a good thing. If scary movies didn't actually scare me sometimes, I probably wouldn't be watching them, right? Right. Don't worry, I usually still sleep like a baby at night, thanks for your concern. ;-)
That's all for tonight. Got some movies lined up for the weekend, so we should be all good for a few days. Enjoy the three day weekend, if you have monday off.