'Insidious' is delightfully terrifying

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For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether you prefer ghosts, zombies or stark explorations of the human condition, we’ll be featuring horror films of all flavors. Check back every evening for the movie of the day. Next up: James Wan’s “Insidious.” 

For most of my life, I never considered myself a scary movie person. When ads for horror films came on TV in my childhood, I would almost always have to look away or leave the room. It wasn’t until I watched 2011’s “Insidious” that I realized just how fun it can be to be terrified.

“Insidious” takes an unusual approach to a classic scary movie trope: the haunted house. Renai and Josh have just moved into a new home when their son Dalton mysteriously falls into a coma. Three months later, Dalton has still not woken up, and the family has outfitted his room with medical equipment so he can return home. But as soon as he is brought back, unusual things begin to happen. Renai and Josh hear strange, menacing voices on their infant’s baby monitor, and one day they go into Dalton’s room and find a blood-red handprint on his sheets.

Things only get worse. The voices get louder. Renai rushes into the baby’s room and sees a man inside. The family even moves into a new house, hoping to escape its own personal nightmare.

Shortly afterward, we see Renai moving boxes, confident the nightmare is over. She couldn’t be more wrong; the eerie and terrifying moments only increase. The inexplicable appearance of a dancing boy, chillingly accompanied by Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” is one of the most unsettling things I have ever watched. It doesn’t take long for Renai to realize that it wasn’t the house that was haunted: It was Dalton.

As Renai and Josh struggle to save their son from the evil forces attempting to take him away, events become more and more disconcerting. The action rises until the movie’s very last moments, leading to one of the most upsetting conclusions that I have ever watched — in the best possible way, of course.

If you’re new to scary movies like I was, this was a great place to start. The mix of unsettling moments with brief, terrifying images is beautifully woven together and is sure to leave viewers thinking about it for weeks to come. Never having watched a scary movie before, I didn’t expect to enjoy myself so much. But being surrounded by friends who were screaming and jumping just as much as I was made it one of my favorite movie experiences ever.