From what I could tell Insidious was being sold on the apparent strength of the Paranormal Activity series. This didn’t actually work on me, though, because I’ve not seen any of the Paranormal Activity films. I’m not a fan of horror films – I’m either too nervy to enjoy them without my imagination running away with me; or I’m so caught in up solving all the plot-points that I overanalyse it to the point that I don’t feel anything for it. Somehow, Insidious fell through the tracks and I ended up seeing it, though. And as far as set-up goes, even though I’m not a devotee of the genre I could make out the obvious particulars. A conventional family moves into a house which seems to be haunted, and the haunts follow them when they move. But more than any other genre, I’d imagine that horror depends more on the feeling than the particulars and every horror film depends on a haunting but Insidious like its name offers more.
The concept of possession has always been one that promises potential goodness and the manner in which the notion is handled here is striking. Lin Shave gives a fine performance as the psychic and in a scene (which serves as a set-up for the film’s actual climax) she sits at a table conducting some strange twist on a séance wearing a contraption that’s more ridiculous than horrific. Even if questions are left unanswered, it’s difficult to accuse the film of plot-holes and at the crux of the film as we enter a world referred to as “The Further” the dreamscape quality is beautifully rendered – it’s as much terrible as it is stunning to behold which only adds to the ramifications it unearths. Fantasy seems like such an obvious addendum to horror, and although the film seems more interested in its contemporary trappings Wan is especially adept at tying the fantastical with the horrific in the final act.