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Insidious (Blu-ray Review)

The gruesome twosome in the horror world known as director James Wan (Saw, Death Sentence, Dead Silence) and writer Leigh Whannel (Saw, Dead Silence) have come back to wreak havoc with their latest horror film Insidious. On this journey into darkness fans will have to bite their tongues, because Insidious is a PG-13 venture.  Yeah, I was bummed out to.  How will the film turn out some would ask?  How can the guys who created bear traps for the face and bloody killer puppets get on with a PG-13 film?  A bloodless PG-13 horror film.  I guess to quote George Michael,  “you gotta have faith.”  That will also be the first and last time I will be quoting George Michael.  With that out of the way please sit back and get ready to  enter this house of horrors known as Insidious, on Blu-ray…watch your step. 

Film 

Insidious is the story of a young family that moves into a nice house and soon after discovers that it is possessed by dark and evil spirits.  Soon thereafter their son falls into a coma.  As the family leaves the house to get away from the evil they find out that it wasn’t really the house that was haunted.  Oh boy.  As I said before, I was curious as to how Insidious would work out, because it was going to be a somewhat bloodless picture with that pesky PG-13 rating.  I crossed my fingers and dove right in.

I almost didn’t make it back, because it did not want to let me go!  I was totally enraptured, and deep down I was like “yes, the boys (Wan and Whannell) have done it again!”  There is some scary @$$ stuff in this flick.  When I saw it in theaters, I used the F-word and S-word repeatedly.  Not only was I doing that, but grown men were screaming like little girls with skinned knees down in the aisles.  It was a great experience seeing it at the show.  I could not wait to view the Blu-ray!

Not only is Insidious not your typical haunted house tale, it’s got some neat little twists to it that involve astral projection.  It’s been a LONG time since astral projection has been used as a plot device.  I enjoyed how it was used in Insidious. It was creepy to the extreme.

I’m sure that by now you’ve noticed the giant five star rating that I gave Insidious. It’s not just a blanket rating that I am giving it.  It has purpose.  The boys (Wan and Whannell) came to horror film fruition way back in 2004 with their smash hit Saw. I don’t care who you were, you took notice.  They became horror film superstars.  The fact that Saw also cost less than a million dollars, but made 100 million dollars at the box-office was something to behold.  It also made them the new guys who could make a film and control the budget, but still make it look spectacular.  We all know how the Saw franchise turned out right? Love it or hate it became a billion dollar franchise through the course of seven films with budgets combined would not even be able to afford Brad Pitt for a film.

Fast forward this bad boy to the present and the boys (Wan and Whannell) have made Insidious for the rock bottom price of (this is the final number to date) 1.5 million dollars.  It made 50 million in the U.S. alone.  Are you kidding me!  This is what it’s all about!.  Yes, I enjoyed Insidious so much in theaters (and now on Blu-ray) that I have proclaimed it my favorite film of 2011.

Not only is Insidious my favorite film of the year, but it contains my favorite score of 2011, as well.  If I didn’t know better composer Joseph Bishara whipped up a steampunk-like score.  It sounds like it was recorded at the turn of the century with basic instruments, string arrangements, pots, pans, and silverware,  but mixed and recorded using today’s high end equipment.  It’s fantastic!

Video 

Insidious is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen.  Insidious is rooted in the low budget world of filmmaking, but you wouldn’t notice it by how it looks.  I know it was shot in digital, and considering the subject matter, the color palette is cold and muted most of the time.  If there is any color it’s during the few daylight scenes.  Blacks are exceptional and never crush as is the contrast which never runs hot except when it needs to in certain scenes.  There’s a light layer of grain, but it only enhances the picture quality.  I would say that if it weren’t certain artistic choices like removing most of the color from people’s faces, this video score would have been reference.  As it stands, it’s only near reference.  Deal with it.  😉


Audio 

Insidious is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1.  Dialogue is always clean, clear, and crisp.  You will never have to turn the volume up to hear what characters are saying.  This is also a very loud sound design.  You’ll notice it when the opening marquee hits.  The LFE does get a hefty workout during some scenes of other worldly peril.  My favorite use of the surrounds is that of how the music was handled.  During the opening marquee it’s centered right in front and just assaults you over the senses.  Without spoiling, you have never heard “Tiptoe Through the Tulips ” like this before.  There is one scene where the music starts playing and it quickly goes from the front sound stage and it continues to swell up until you are completely surrounded by the tune.  It blew my mind. 


Special Features

And we were doing so well.  The special features contained within this Blu-ray are paltry at best. It’s a roughly thirty minute featurette divided into three sections.  I wish there had been a commentary and some deleted scenes or something.  Not cool.

  • Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar
  • On Set With Insidious
  • Insidious Entities

Final Thoughts 

James Wan and Leigh Whannel continue to rock forward in the horror genre.  Some may try to front and say that Insidious isn’t scary at all.  I say nonsense.  There’s no need for posturing.  I would suggest turning off all the lights, lock the doors, bolt the windows, and get ready to enter “The Further” realm.  If you make it back in one piece get at me and we’ll talk about how wrong you were…muahahahahaha!

P.S. Stay until the end of the credits.  😉

 

Order Insidious on Blu-ray!

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

5 Responses to “Insidious (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Revisiting this film on Blu-ray and getting my adult, male friend to lay out his high-pitched screen multiple times throughout = completely successful horror film. Go and check this out.

  2. Brian White

    This is ur best review yet!

    You hit every major point including the grown men screaming!

    I don’t think any movie can touch this as my number one this year!

  3. Gerard Iribe

    I’m telling you, dudes were screaming in a high pitch fashion like Jonah Hill in that scene from Accepted. Remember?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adzp_wVe6QA

    Like that!

  4. Taygan315

    Just finished watching this for the first time (blind buy). What a creepy flick..and I mean that in a good way. Loved the ending. Did not make me scream like Jonah Hill,lol. Not once.

  5. Brian White

    The Tiny Tim song with the record player steals the show everytime!