Movie Review: Insidious (2011)

Hello there, guys, and welcome to the first post for the Month of Spooks! That’s right, for those of you who might’ve missed the announcement post (cave dwellers), for the third year in a row I am dedicating October to the spooks and the creeps! Exceptions to this include trailer talks and also “Thor: Ragnarok”… what can I say, Marvel is a must watch for me. Anyhow, it is time… for some spooky shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Insidious”.

After she moves into a new house with her family, Renai (Rose Byrne) starts experiencing weird, probably supernatural phenomena. And soon they find out that these scary occurrences might be happening because of their comatose son. So now we have our haunted house(ish) movie plot. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d say so. It puts some really interesting and surprisingly tense spins on the haunted house formula and makes it feel somewhat fresh in an ocean of movies featuring hauntings. My only problem with the plot is the final act. While entertaining, it is quite the tonal shift from the rest of the movie. For the longest time it is a somber, creepy, and eerie trip through this family’s horrible situation. But then in the final act it becomes a little more lighthearted (for lack of a better word), making for a weird shift in tone. Again, it’s not bad, but it does bring it down a bit since it’s such a weird shift from the haunting (HA!) two acts that came before. So overall the plot here is good.

The characters here are decently fleshed out, sympathetic, and interesting. Rose Byrne plays Renai (pronounced like Renée), the mother of the Lambert family, and the first person to start experiencing these scary things. She is determined to get to the bottom of this, trying to hold it together, but you can see that she might crack any minute, like any normal person would do in that situation. And Rose Byrne is great in the role. Patrick Wilson plays Josh, Renai’s husband. He’s a bit more of a skeptic to the supernatural stuff, but he is willing to do anything to help his wife and his family. And Patrick Wilson is great in the role. Ty Simpkins plays Dalton, Renai’s and Josh’s son. And while he doesn’t get to do/say too much in the movie, the little acting he gets to do is definitely really good. We also have Lin Shaye as a psychic who gets brought in to try to help the Lamberts out. And she’s really good in the role. And we have Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson Lin Shaye’s assistants, and they’re a fun presence in the movie, both giving good performances. Overall this movie is well acted.

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was fine. In terms of style it doesn’t do anything very unique, you’ve heard a lot of the musical cues in most other horror scores. But it’s well composed and used well enough in the movie, so I don’t have any complaints about it. There’s also at least one licensed track in the movie. They use it, and while it’s distractingly out of place for an eerie horror flick, I can’t fault it because it never ruined the experience for me.

This movie was directed by James Wan and I think he did a really good job. Everything looks smooth and the shots do look quite nice. But what I appreciate most about his direction is how much suspense he manages to build throughout. He does a lot with very little, managing to create a constant feel of unease and tension throughout. And let’s talk about jumpscares. They’re a staple of horror, popping up in so many horror movies… and this one’s no exception. However, I think this movie does jumpscares well. Most movies use “fake scares”, trying to make people jump when there’s nothing scary in frame. But “Insidious” has no fake scares like that, instead having good jumpscares that actually work. So yeah, this movie scared me a bit.

This movie has been decently well received (I guess). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 66% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Insidious” is a good little horror movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and some good scares. My only problem with the movie comes from the final act not being as great as the the other two. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “Insidious” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Insidious” is now completed.

Month of Spooks has officially begun!

Movie Review: Falling Down (1993)

Sometimes life can be fucking weird… and horrible. Just look at the guy in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Douglas is… “Falling Down”.

William “D-Fens” Foster (Michael Douglas) is an unemployed defense worker. And during a really hot day he is trying to get to his daughter’s birthday party. And on the way he runs into several infuriating situations which causes him to irrationally lash out at the world. So now we have our plot. And is it any good? Sort of. There are some neat ideas at play, and the final act manages to create some pretty damn solid moments, but for the most part I didn’t feel fully invested. It was interesting enough to not be called bad, and there were scenes spread throughout that had some really interesting things happening in them, but for the most part I just felt like I was simply along for the ride, not getting fully invested in it.

Most of the characters are just there, not having too much to do, simply filling a role. But there are a couple that I thought were good. Let’s start with our main “hero”, played by Michael Douglas. You can tell that he is a very troubled man. He seems like a nice guy, but he can be prone to bursts of rage. There’s a lot of layers to this character, and Douglas is fantastic in the role. Robert Duvall plays a soon-to-be-retired cop who is investigating these seemingly related cases, as a sort of last hurrah before retirement. He has a lot of old man charm, and Duvall is great in the role. Then the supporting cast is rounded out by people like Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin, Tuesday Weld, Frederic Forrest, and Raymond J. Barry (among others), all doing a good job.

The score for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard and it was really good. Not among his best, but definitely a good one. It helps to create a lot of tension and drama throughout, thanks to a lot of intense beats and other sounds. It does really help elevate certain scenes in the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (oh boy…) and I think he did a really good job here (wait, what?). Yeah, go figure that the man who directed two of the worst superhero movies ever could direct a good thriller. His shots look great and manage to create a feel of unease whenever we follow Michael Douglas throughout. And there are also some really suspenseful moments throughout the movie that actually made me tense up a little bit. There’s also an essence of dark, mildly satirical humor to it, which I thought added to the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Falling Down” is not perfect, but it is a pretty damn good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it of course come from a plot that isn’t very investing, and a lack of interesting characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Falling Down” is an 8,72/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Falling Down” is now completed.

The summer sun, it blows my mind
Is falling down on all that I’ve ever known