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Posts Tagged ‘INSIDIOUS’
What do you do when you write yourself into a corner after just one successful sequel? If you are Leigh Whannell, the screenwriter of the first two “Insidious” frightfests, you look backwards and pen a prequel.
The poor haunted Lambert family (Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor and Barbara Hershey) of the first two films are nowhere to be seen in “Insidious: Chapter 3.” In their place are the Brenners, widower Sean (Dermot Mulroney) and teenage daughter Quinn (Stefanie Scott), the kind of teenager who wears a Pixies t-shirt even though their best material was recorded years before she was born. They’re first family to encounter the spooky demons of the netherworld known as The Further that spooked the Lamberts.
Seeking to make contact with her late mother the youngster gets in touch with psychic Elise Rainier (Lin “The Godmother of Horror” Shaye). The mystic warns her about the dangers of dabbling in the great beyond—“You have to be very careful. If you call out to one of the dead all of them can hear you.”—and soon Quinn is attacked by malevolent entity (is there any other kind?) who steals half her soul. To rescue the girl Elise does battle with a demon hungry for human souls.
“Insidious: Chapter 3” is the first of the series not to be directed by James Wan who is apparently too busy making movies like “Furious 7” to return to the lo-fi scares of “Insidious.” In his place is Whannell, who did double duty as screenwriter. He understands the inner workings of these movies better than anyone, but where Wan ensured the first two movies were thrill rides that played on primal fears, Whannell‘s is the stuff of carnival haunted houses. It’s a quiet movie peppered with nightmarish images of creatures with no eyes and giant clawed feet embellished by old school effects created with make-up, sound and lighting. Some are quite effective and there are a couple of scary, inventive thrills late in the game, but far too much of the film is devoted to set up. The first hour and a quarter is a prologue of sorts for the handful of shocks that comprise the climax.
Shaye comes up with several ways to battle demons not even Dr. Peter Venkman had thought of but most of “Insidious: Chapter 3” isn’t scary enough to warrant any ghostbusting at all.
If the Paranormal Activity movies curdle your blood and The Conjuring kept you up at night, perhaps A Haunted House 2 will be more your style. A humorous hybrid of horror hits, it stars Marlon Wayans and Jaime Pressly in a sequel to the popular (but critically lambasted) 2013 comedy.
According to IMDB in the new film Wayans has “exorcised the demons of his ex” and is trying to start his life anew with his girlfriend. Unfortunately his new house turns out to be haunted and, even worse, his back-from-the-dead ex has moved in across the street.
It’s all played for laughs and will likely not give audiences nightmares but it would be interesting to know how the makers of movies like Sinister, The Possession, and Insidious feel about having their movies made fun of.
Some filmmakers are flattered.
Night of the Living Dead icon George A. Romero enjoyed the zombie takeoff Shaun of the Dead so much he asked star Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright to appear in Land of the Dead. The duo can be seen chained up in a 12-second cameo under a sign that reads Take Your Picture with a Zombie during the film’s carnival sequence.
But not everyone gets the joke.
Years ago Boris Karloff made it known he wasn’t very happy about a horror comedy. He was approached to play the Monster in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein but declined because he felt the duo’s brand of slapstick would be an insult to horror movies. Nonetheless he did some promo for the film—there are publicity pictures of him buying tickets at the box office—and later appeared in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff and Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Another horror legend said yes to Meet Frankenstein but no to the comedy. The movie was the only other time Bela Lugosi played Dracula on the big screen and he played it straight.
“There is no burlesque for me,” he said. “All I have to do is frighten the boys, a perfectly appropriate activity. My trademark will be unblemished.”
Finally, the movie Young Frankenstein gave overdue credit to an old time movie studio technician. When Mel Brooks was prepping the film he discovered that Ken Strickfaden, the designer of the “mad scientist” electrical machinery in the Universal Frankenstein films, had all the equipment from the original movies stored in his garage. Strickfaden agreed to rent Mel the props and received a screen credit, which he hadn’t been given on the original films.
The names James Wan and Leigh Whannell may not mean much to you… unless you’re a horror fan, in which case the pairing will send a chill down your spine. The director – writer team brought one of the most influential horror movies of the last decade to the screen—“Saw”—and are back together for “Insidious,” a new exercise in eeriness starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.
The “Insidious” trailer doesn’t give away much of the plot and neither will I. I can tell you that Wilson and Byrne play parents whose child slips into a deep trance-like state. He’s not in a coma, the doctors say, adding, “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Not exactly the words you want to hear from your GP. As the months pass strange things start happening in the house and when ghostly figures appear it becomes clear that something insidious is happening in the young couple’s home.
“Insidious” is one of those movies that requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief. For instance when Byrne’s character starts experiencing odd things—strange sounds, children appearing out of nowhere, faces in mirrors—they aren’t chalked up to the sounds of their new house settling or some kind of hallucination, nope, instead of looking for a worldly explanation this bunch’s first assumption is that something supernatural is happening. Luckily Wilson’s mother (Barbara Hershey) happens to have a psychic investigator on speed dial. Get past those leaps of faith and you’re left with a movie that is shrouded with loads of atmosphere but short on actual scares.
Eerie rather than scary, “Insidious” will play on your fears of displacement and feelings of helplessness, but the unless you find the idea of an otherworldly spirit listening to Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” terrifying you won’t be crawling out of your skin. Wan puts away the torture porn of “Saw,” replacing it with lots of dry ice and creepy costumes but keeps the fear level on a par with that of walking through an amusement park’s haunted house.