Insidious—Sony Pictures

Video: 4.5/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 2/5

From the creators of "Saw" and "Paranormal Activity", "Insidious" is the terrifying story of a family who shortly after moving discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to realize it was not their house that was haunted.

Insidious was captured using digital cameras so you have a high level of fine object detail in close ups, but a rather smooth looking image for the rest of the time. Overall it works well, but it can be slightly distracting with a more video like look than I’m used to from digitally captured films. Colors have a muted quality, which lends to the atmosphere of the film, but contrast levels are strong. I noticed the slightest bit of banding in some of the end sequences, but it was hardly a distraction. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is by far the highlight of the presentation and goes a long way in creating the atmosphere of the film and the majority of the scares. Mood is everything here and subtle ambient cues are used throughout to keep you on edge. Dynamic range is used effectively to get you to jump. Much like Paranormal Activity, Insidious uses a lot of silence and subtle cues to keep you on edge throughout the film. Deep bass extension is solid but it’s the surrounds that really shine in this mix adding lots of layers to the soundstage and plenty of creepy directional cues.

Extras are a bit lame for this type of release. There is the typical production featurette that is mainly onset looks and EPK interviews. You also get a short feature on creating the ghosts in the film. Another production feature includes interviews with the creators and their insight into making the film. Some trailers are also included.

Insidious is an effective horror film that relies a lot on mood and atmosphere to scare you out of your seat. Much like Paranormal Activity, it doesn’t use violence to create horror, but it will get you to jump more than enough times. Overall I thought Paranormal Activity, and its sequel, were creepier overall, but this is still a solid offering for the genre that does much better with its scares than most of what we see from this genre. Recommended.