Thank Heaven For Little Boys: Insidious Review, Part One

5 Jan

Some day, somehow, in some far off galaxy, SOMEBODY is going to have to explain why the hell I decided to review Insidious!

From the makers of Paranormal Activity and the director of Saw? Oh god. Run, you fools.

Like all big names in horror nowadays (ie: not created using a cell phone camera and a jar of pasta sauce), this one has people both praise and despise it, which means that no matter what I say, I’m going to piss someone off! Where’s the fucking fun in that?!

Although, when I say it like that, I don’t know what I’m complaining about.


The film opens with a slow pan over a sleeping child’s room that takes just enough time of focusing on the kid to make things really rapey, before moving on to a silhouette of an old woman standing outside a window. And yes, the string section swells, as if to say “DID YOU KNOW STALKERS ARE CREEPY WELL OKAY I GUESS YOU DID BUT ANYWAY YOU COULDN’T TELL THAT IF WE DIDN’T HYPE THIS THE FUCK UP”.

It then pans over to a bizarre… painting, I guess, of an old woman’s face. I think this is supposed to be scary, as the soundtrack starts wailing and screaming like the entire orchestra is being fed through a meat grinder.

After a quick “took 30 seconds in Photoshop” title shop, we get the credits over slow pans of a normal house in black and white. Oh, sure, they throw in “spooky” imagery once and a while, but I’ve seen more convincing ghost effects in a fucking haunted house.

And not a good one either. The kind that smells like nachos and shame.

With all the budget for first year Photoshop students over with, we cut to a woman sleeping in bed. In monkey pyjamas, so you know it’s serious. She wakes up, looks over to the man next to her with a look that says “I loathe you with all of my being but it’s too much effort to snip off your genitals with metal crimpers”, and heads downstairs.

Using my amazing detective skills, namely the fact that there are boxes everywhere, I have deduced that they… HAVE JUST MOVED.

Please, please, hold your applause until after the show.

She sits down to flip through a photo album, and her son in equally atrocious pyjamas shows up to read it with her. And as riveting as that sounds, it is thankfully interrupted when the baby upstairs is crying! God, I never thought that would be my call to reality.

We cut to everyone having breakfast, with one of the sons, Foster, eating off the floor, the baby girl screaming in her high chair, the mother yelling over the phone, Pyjama Boy trying desperately to be the blandest person in the room, and the father beating him by a wide margin.

The mother hangs up, and heads off to find… some books on the floor?

The horror?


We cut to the mother, writing a song on the piano, with the baby monitor very conspicuously in the foreground. This foreshadowing lasts… oh, about 10 seconds before the baby starts up again, and considering the fact that the crying echoes through the house like a thunderclap, you have to wonder why she even bothered with the damn monitor. (Maybe she likes it in stereo?)

The mother hears, to quote the subtitles, a “strange noise”, and heads off to the dark attic to investigate. It, of course, turns out to be- oh, wait, she gets bored, and she just leaves.

Well. Fuck you too, I guess.

The father shows up again, and we’re treated to more of the family interacting- wait, did I say “treated”? I meant “punished with”.

Pyjama Boy heads to the attic, now wearing a cape, and tries to turn on the light. He falls down, bangs his head, and wakes up. Which, hey, means that “everything that happens in the movie is actually a dream as he lay dying” is actually a viable plot twist! Which I’m betting is going to make more sense than the actual plot!

He hears some scraping noise and starts screaming, as we all do when we hear the sound of substandard moving crews, and the mother takes the time to inform us that his name is “Dalton” before running to help. Oh, thank god, “Pyjama Boy” was getting old fast.

This is far, far creepier than anything in this movie.

The dramatic music cues once again return to inform us that something scary is happening, because it’s not as if the actual movie could tell us that, and the parents run upstairs to tend to Dalton, and… oh my god, I realize where I’ve seen the father before! He’s one of the jackass ghostbusters in The Conjuring! So I guess if this review is cut short by technical difficulties, we’ll know what happened!

After ooohing and ahhing over his injuries and toting him downstairs, the mother looks around the attic… and sees the sheet music she’s been looking for! GASP!

Seriously, why the fuck is this movie so prepared to go over the top with the soundtrack, but whenever they try to put an actual scare, they pull their punches? I swear, it’s like if somebody found the Tv Tropes page for “Soundtrack Dissonance” and decided to make a whole movie around it.

I figure if I keep up these references, I’ll eventually earn a page! Come on, don’t leave me hanging!

The parents consider attaching Dalton to a child leash, and like all good conversations about child bondage, it immediately segue ways in to another breakfast scene, which is just about as pleasant as getting trussed up and having clothes-pins stuck on your nipples, so it all works!

[Editor’s Note: … Why do you even know that?]

Hey, I don’t ask what you do on Friday nights, you don’t ask what do on Friday nights.

The father tries to wake Dalton up so he can be subjected to this hell too, but it’s fortunately cut short when it’s discovered that Dalton is in a coma now! YAY CHILD ENDANGERMENT. They shove him in an intensive care unit and we cut three months later, where he’s getting installed in the house. Oh sure, you can just shove that kind of thing anywhere. What, did they stuff him through the window?

The mother starts trying and failing to write more songs, which I suppose is here to juxtapose how miserable everything is now, which would really work better if they hadn’t made this place seem like a cesspool of stifled emotions normally! Anyway, the baby monitor goes off again, and instead of hearing the baby, she instead hears static, because apparently she bought this thing off Silent Hill.

Silent Hill: Come for the mind rape, stay for the non-euclidean geometry!

Eventually Little Miss Sunderland’s radio quiets down enough to let her hear, “There’s nothing you can do”. Well, if there’s nothing you can do, might as well do nothing! Can we go now?

Worth a shot.

Like any mother who hear’s strange voices coming out of her baby’s room, she immediately runs to go kick his ass- oh, I’m sorry, she wanders around the house looking confused. OUR PROTAGONIST, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

Eventually, the voice starts requesting that the baby give him everything, which means that he’s officially trying to get lunch money from a baby and isn’t that just fucking typical. She finally runs in once the baby starts crying, and looks confused that there’s no one there. Well, maybe if you had gotten the fucking lead out, lady, you’d actually fucking accomplish something.

She checks in with Foster, complains about Dalton walking around at night, and that revelation barely gets time to percolate before we cut to night. Something’s come rap, rap, rapping on their door in the middle of the night, and for once it’s not Vanilla Ice.

The father goes to check it out, and finds nothing (probably just the Screaming Skull again), and while that’s going on, the mother goes to check on the baby… and sees somebody standing by the window, staring at her, and skullfucking the soundtrack just like every time something happens in this damn movie.

“Hi. I’m the ghost. Got a minute?”

And no sooner after the father make sure that there’s no one in there, the alarm goes off. Seems the ghost opened the front door the second he left, in accordance to the nationally recognized “Ghosts Are Fuelled By Pettiness” bylaw they ruled in last summer.

He stalks through the house with a red hot poker, and after ascertaining that the only ghost in the building is this guy’s career (booyah!), they pack it in. I’d normally say the ghost won this round… but I’m not sure what he actually wanted to accomplish here.

[Editor’s Note: Irritate the fuck out of you?]

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Pictured: The ghost.

After a brief pointless scene of the father at work dreaming about Dalton, we get an even briefer one of the mother asleep, before cutting to the mother discussing Dalton with a nurse. “Ma’am, it is under my professional opinion… that this boy has been ghost-raped.”

After the nurse leaves, the mother finds a bloody hand print on the bed sheets, and yes, the first person to make a “time of the month”, “never going to that laundromat again” or “oops that was me” joke will be shot on sight, especially the first one. (A specially exemption has been made for any “worst high-five ever” jokes.)

The father shows up late again, as he’s been doing every night this week, and the mother tries to explain that the house is haunted without mentioning, you know, the bloody fucking hand print. That’s kinda primo evidence there!

Of course, like all haunted house movies, the conversation inevitably becomes an argument, one which the mother solves by whipping the bloody sheet at him. Oh god, don’t touch it, the ghost had AIDS!

“I never should have floated through that box of needles.”

During the night, the father sleeps on the couch and dreams of Dalton and melodramatic shots of the house, while bloody hand prints start appearing on the mother’s window. She wakes up screaming, like we all would if we realized we were in Insidious.

She looks outside her window and sees the ghost pacing back and forth, almost as if he’s impatient. “God, when’s my damn scene!” Then, he appears inside while the music hammers us over the head again, and we see that he’s… Severus Snape?

That makes way too much sense.

He screams like he just stubbed his toe and lunges at the mother, who’s screams wake up the husband. He comes galumphing upstairs, and of course, fails to find anything. Well, of course not, he disapparated!

They decide that this is justification enough to move, and we soon see them moving everything else in to a new house. Including Dalton, as a matter of fact! Jesus, why does everyone make a big deal about intensive care units, apparently you can plug ’em and unplug ’em like that!

“Dead, alive, dead, alive- whee, this is fun!”

The mother puts on a record as she starts cleaning this new house, and as she dashes outside, she sees… a little boy in a newsie cap dancing to Tiny Tim’s Tiptoe Through The Tulips?

Well. Congratulations, you just made the least threatening combination of words and concepts possible. Your mothers must be so proud.

When she rushes in to get a better look, she finds no such newsie boy… for about five seconds, then he dashes in front of her. Look, dude, you weren’t threatening before, what the fuck makes you think you’ll be threatening now!

He leads her on a merry chase through the house, with the newsie boy doing all the traditional “open door, close door, creaking noise, rocking horse” and all that jazz, until she finds him hiding in a cupboard. And then he… runs out of the cupboard? And just leaves?

Well, I wasn’t threatened by your newsie boy, but now that I know he can exit cupboards, it’s time to freak the fuck out!

Actually, I take that back, this guy’s terrifying.



4 Responses to “Thank Heaven For Little Boys: Insidious Review, Part One”

  1. Tim Hurley January 8, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    You know, far too many people (including my own sister) point to that ‘Tiptoe through the Tulips’ part as one of the creepiest things in the movie. Sure, the whole ‘what the hell is this newsie kid doing in my house, and why the hell is he dancing?’ is a little strange, but I’d consider that a selling point for the house. Spontaneous Apparition-al Dancing? That’s a win in my (pocket)book. Then again, I’m a glass half-full kinda guy.


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