Insidious (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 14-Sep-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror / Thriller Menu Animation & Audio-Extended live montage plus original music.
Theatrical Trailer-Tucker and Dale versus Evil (1:44) 1080p
Theatrical Trailer-The Beaver (2:05) 1080p
Theatrical Trailer-The Tree of Life (2:05) 1080p
Featurette-Making Of-Horror 101:The Exclusive Seminar (10:26) 1080p
Featurette-Making Of-On Set with Insidious (6:32) 1080p
Featurette-Making Of-Insidious Entities (6:32) 1080p
Theatrical Trailer-Insidious (1:44) 1080p
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 102:23 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Wan
Studio
Distributor
Alliance Communictns
Icon Entertainment
Starring Patrick Wilson
Rose Byrne
Ty Simpkins
Lin Shaye
Leigh Whannell
Angus Sampson
Barbara Hershey
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Joseph Bishara


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Detailed bedroom pan prior to main title.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     James Wan and Leigh Whannell are the two graduates of the Media Arts course at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology who gave the world the Saw franchise. After the initial Saw entry, director Wan and writer Whannell executive-produced the follow up gore fests while flexing their creative muscle on other less successful ventures, 2007's Dead Silence with Ryan Kwanten and Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon. The pair have, however, once again come up with a winner with Insidious, one of the most frightening films of the last few years. Though not a complete success, falling away in its final stages, the first three quarters of the film are rivetingly scary and totally absorbing cinema.

     Do not expect yet another blood splattered torture and dismember blood fest. Insidious begins as though we are settling into a modest domestic drama. The Lambert family are moving into their new home. Attractive couple Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) seem to have some unresolved baggage from the past, but the composer wife is happily unpacking boxes while teacher Josh is away earning his take-home pay. Rounding out the family are the two sons, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), his kid brother Foster (Andrew Astor) and the newborn baby daughter. The house is attractively vintage, with sombre wood panelling and a creaking, shadowy staircase. Renai has a couple of unsettling moments with a disappearing box of music and some books apparently falling from a shelf, but these events she dismisses. All seems to be settling nicely for the Lamberts until Dalton, while exploring the attic, has a fall from a ladder. The boy is rushed to the hospital and it is announced that he is in a coma, and all the parents can do is take him home and care for him while they wait for him to, hopefully, wake into consciousness.

     Caring for her comatose son, Renai begins to believe that there are supernatural forces at work within the house. She becomes convinced that there are demons lurking in the shadows, and a mischievous laughing child dances around the house taunting her. Josh is sceptical and their marriage becomes strained as Renai feels deserted by her spouse. Ultimately the distraught young woman convinces her husband to move, and the family relocates to a brighter more modern home. To Renai's dismay she soon finds that the demons have moved with them. After an abortive attempt at exorcism, Josh's mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), says she knows who can help them. Enter an expert in dealing with the paranormal, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), with her two assistants (writer Whannell and Angus Sampson).

     Only in the final section of the film is there any lessening of the terror. Until then writer Whannell has held the reins on his work tight and taut, with nothing extraneous and all developments rooted in the reality of the young family and their confrontation with the paranormal activity. Once Josh enters "the different" world and we are concretely exposed to the demons, this "reality" cannot live up to our vivid imaginings. There are obvious echoes of Poltergeist, but the first three quarters of the film are so darned good that they outweigh the disappointing denouement. Whannell creates convincing real characters and the situations are genuinely frightening. A very major plus is the fact that there is not one single fake scare. The frightening shadow does not turn out to be a cat, or the tapping at the window isn't a branch in the wind. When there is a build up to a scare, it is a genuine scare every time. The tension builds and builds without any let up, and the result is some of the most prolonged spine-tingling I've ever experienced. All the ingredients contribute to the final effect. The lighting, the colour, the music, the sound effects, the camerawork, the decor - in the first shot I love that teddy bear sitting in the bedroom's darkened corner. Director Wan handles everything with control and style. He is a genuinely accomplished director. Serving him superbly is a first rate cast. Patrick Wilson (Lakeview Terrace / The Phantom of the Opera) is always excellent, and Rose Byrne (TV's Damages / Get Him to the Greek) is mightily impressive. Barbara Hershey (Hannah and Her Sisters / Black Swan) is perfect as the mother with a secret, and minor performances are spot on, including young Ty Simkins (Revolutionary Road) and Lin Shaye (There's Something About Mary).

     There is nothing really new in Insidious, but what the writer and director have made of their material takes it into the realm of the great chiller thrillers of the cinema. This film from two young Melbourne trained filmmakers is one of the very few recent films that can honestly be described as a horror film, and it's a darned good one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Happily this quality film is given a close to top notch high definition transfer. The 1980p transfer is presented at the ratio of 2.40:1 and looks stunning.

     The image is razor sharp, with extremely fine detail. Every inch of the sets is crystal clear, and close-ups are startling. Shadow detail is superb, which is extremely important for a film which has demons lurking in every shadow. A subtle and subdued colour scheme has been utilised, with occasional splashes, particularly of primary red, and remains solid throughout the film. Skin tones are excellent within that colour framework.

     This is a transfer that is difficult to fault.

     The English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired are fine as far as they go. Unfortunately they fail in describing the crucial sound effects. The opening sequence has the changes in music subtitled, but there is no reference to the ticking of the grandfather clock or the creaking of the stairs as Rose Byrne descends.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio experience here is equal to the excellence of the image. There is one audio stream, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.

     Dialogue is basically front and centre, perfect with no trace of any sync problems. The full surround system is utilised extensively throughout, with a spectacular display ranging from a quietly dripping tap to thundering bass, particularly in the sonically explosive finale. The eerie and often discordant score by Joseph Bishara (ColdWater) is dramatically distributed around the entire sound field. This is a really exciting soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     The Extras are slight but enjoyable.

Start-Up Trailers

     On start-up we are served up three enjoyable trailers, all presented 1080p and looking very handsome indeed:

Menu

     The menu is presented 1.78:1 at the base of an extensive montage of spooky moments from the film. It all is very nicely edited, with the eerie score supporting the visuals.

Horror 101 : The Exclusive Seminar (10:26)

     This is very once-over-lightly stuff, but quite enjoyable. With interview footage presented 1.78:1, and the film excerpts at 2.40:1, this is in excellent high definition, with the cast and crew, basically the personable and enthusiastic director and writer, discussing the joys of making a horror film.

On Set with Insidious (8:15)

     This is a fairly standard promo piece, with the familiar faces from the film and behind the camera. Again presented in high definition.

Insidious Entities (6:32)

     These few minutes concentrate on the creatures of the film, revealing that the film's composer portrayed the main demon. The section dealing with the child actor's fears were very interesting.

Theatrical Trailer (1:44)

     An excellent trailer, presented in similar superb quality.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The local release misses out on French and Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     If you like a really scary movie then you must not miss Insidious. It is fresh, exciting, suspenseful and horrifically terrifying. Script, performances and direction are excellent, and the high definition transfer wins all the way, in both sight and sound. The extras are rather slight, but enjoyable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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