Insidious [in-sid-ee-uh s], adjective – causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed. Awaiting a chance to entrap; harmful but enticing.
Each of us has our own special something that triggers fear and leaves our skin crawling. For some, it’s the literal interpretation of that – bugs, snakes, roaches, spiders, etc. For others, it’s more irrational, perhaps from childhood memories gone awry. Things like clowns, masks and makeup do the trick.
If you’re like me, it’s the supernatural that does you in. Things like demons and possession, evil spirits, and haunted souls give you a proper scare – particularly, concepts that stem from examples of actual, documented accounts, and terrifying situations that resemble historic folklore. This is what makes Insidious the perfect horror film. All you have to do is read the definition of the word and it leaves you uneasy. Now imagine a demon trying to inhabit your soul in that fashion.
This is the tone and intention of Insidious, and it sure lives up to its name.
Insidious was released in 2011, and directed by James Wan (Saw, Death Sentence, The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2). Wan has the uncanny ability to directly attack and unnerve us where we are most vulnerable – the psyche. He does this in Insidious by using the old occult teaching of astral projection, a vulnerable, coma-stricken little boy, and demon that’s desperate for a host. It’s such a perfect recipe for a solid, supernatural horror story.
The demon is a malevolent, supernatural being that haunts and presumably reigns the dark realm known as “The Further”. For those who believe in things like near-death experiences and alternate planes of existence, “The Further” is where an individual’s consciousness is separated from its body, either at will or by an outside force. In this case, little Dalton slips into a coma after an encounter with the demonic force in his house, and each day it calls to his soul more and more boldly. It lures Dalton into the alternate realm until he is lost there, consciousness separated from body, but fully aware of the demon and its desire to hold him captive indefinitely.
Insidious takes you to the place where nightmares are made, and leaves you there to find your own way out. Just like Dalton, as a viewer you feel trapped and terrified. While “The Further” is an alternate version of his memories and reality, you can’t help but wonder what yours might look like. You become the observer, watching his parents try to treat Dalton with medical remedies, while the demon lurks over his bed creeping slowly toward success. All the while, a small part of you is thinking, could this really happen? Philosophers and coma survivors alike have given accounts of such astral travels. Perhaps there is a realm before death where celestials and demons do wander.
Insidious is anything but your typical horror film. It is a brilliantly crafted interpretation of the real and the surreal; the living and the supernatural. If it’s an uneasy, unnerving scare you’re seeking to get you psyched for Halloween, add this to your list for sure.
Make sure to check out our other Halloween favorites on the list of the 31 Days of Halloween here!