Insidious (2010)

insidious poster 2010 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Atmospheric beginning

Bad third act, Specs and Tucker don't fit the movie's tone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Insidious

Studio:  Stage 6 Films

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  September 14, 2010 (Toronto International Film Festival)/April 1, 2011

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

insidious lipstick demon

Let me in!

When Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) find their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) has fallen into a coma, the doctors cannot explain it.  Events begin happening in the house and Renai believes she is seeing spirits that seem to follow them even when they move.  Josh’s mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) warns of a presence she’s seen in the house and gives hope through a team of supernatural investigators Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), Specs (Leigh Whannell), and Tucker (Angus Sampson).  Dalton is slowly dying and if he goes, something worse might take his place.

Directed by James Wan, Insidious is a supernatural horror film.  The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 and was released nationally in 2011, and the low-budget film was a surprise success at the box office.

Insidious has a lot going for it in the jump category.  The movie is built on the premise of Paranormal Activity in its scares (aka loud, quick shocks) and it revels in it.  Unlike Paranormal Activity which is much more freeform due to being a found footage film, Insidious is scripted.

insidious lipstick demon darth maul

Who are you callin’ Darth Maul?!?!

In this scripting, Insidious both soars and falls.  A lot of the build-up the story works.  You don’t know about the haunting, you see horrible monsters, and there is obviously some sort of mystery developing.  The second half sets out to explain it with the “ghostbusters” (who are for the most part too goofy) but also seems jumbled in the explanation with repressed memories, multiple ghosts, a demon, and rather dull trip into the ghost dimension…it doesn’t feel like it pays off the smart set-up.

The cast is solid with Rose Byrne being the emotionally stretched mother while Patrick Wilson keeps himself grounded.  It is good to see Barbara Hershey back on the screen as the mother and horror vet Lin Shaye gets a nice starring role as the only one of the ghostbusters that really fits the tone of the movie.

insidious old woman


The movie (for the most part) does have nice visuals.  I like jump set-ups and some of the less-is-more aspects of the demon’s presence is solid.  Where the movie fails is the ghost dimension sequence in the end of the movie.  With all the great attempts at scaring through visuals that the movie has early on, it is a bland, unfrightening world…at least that “Lipstick-Face” Darth Maul demon is scary.

Insidious loses it in the third act and that is a shame.  The movie had me for most of the film and starts to break down.  It is still a quick, easy watchable horror film, but it hurts that it could have been so much better.  With the big success, a sequel was inevitable.  Insidious was followed by Insidious:  Chapter 2 in 2013.

Related Links:

Insidious:  Chapter 2 (2013)

Insidious:  Chapter 3 (2015)

Insidious:  The Last Key (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response