Monday, October 03, 2011


(2011) ***1/2

On this Monday night I would be curled up with a bowl of wine watching Chaz Bono do the cha-cha-cha on this season's “Dancing with the Stars.” However, it being Halloweentime, such things are made to be sacrificed in the spirit of Horrorthon . . . right?

Gimme some sugar, baby!

This movie opens on a family that has just moved in to an abundantly spacious house – the father Josh is always busy working overtime, the mother Renai has her hands full with rearing three children named Dalton, Foster, and Cali, and to top it all off, the place is haunted. Well, not quite.

I must admit when I first viewed this with Johnny Sweatpants, I dismissed it as a paranormal-something ripoff that doesn't really explain the origin of an evil force terrorizing people that don't seem to have any outstanding qualities. I even started dozing off – it's not boring, I swear! I'm totally intrigued about the mishaps and meanderings of your three beautiful but awkwardly-named children!

Things get a little more interesting when Dalton hits his head falling off a ladder in the attic – and ends up in a coma. From there strange shit starts to happen: lights flicker, house alarm goes off, random banging on doors, bloodied hands on window, a strange man appears in the baby's room, black & white dream sequence. I'm not one for watching scary movies (I like to stick with a comfortable psychological thriller), but there were several moments where I felt scared in a way that I haven't experienced since middle school.

Insidious' slow build-up created an eerie atmosphere that left this Horrorthon n00b satisfied. I felt like it had enough plot substance to carry the movie to the end, and the composition of each frame elicited the right reaction from me. The nasty evil forces are given sufficient screen-time and do not wear out their welcome and therefore remain creepy and scary to the very end.

. . . Oh yeah and there's this creepy chick that totally looks like me.


Octopunk said...

And our other newcomer throws down! Nice review. I kinda want that Darth Maul-lookin' dude behind that other guy to start singing the "mana mana" song.

Deet deeedle deedee!

And yes, Dancing With the Stars must be sacrificed on the Horrorthon alter in as bloody and screamingest a way as possible.

50PageMcGee said...

i think sleep also gets sacrificed to the thon gods.

welcome to the looney bin, C.

freaks! freaks! one of us! one of us!

Catfreeek said...

Welcome Crystal! Excellent first review. I'm so happy to hear that Horrorthon beat the crap out of Chaz Bono.

JPX said...

"I'm totally intrigued about the mishaps and meanderings of your three beautiful but awkwardly-named children!"

Right on Crystal! I watched this the other night and I was also struck bhy those ridiculous names. Welcome to the contest! I'm glad to see you getting into the the groove of this silliness.

I must admit that I fear for my brother if you look like that last picture. Hopefully that's only before coffee.

Nice work!

Crystal Math said...

Actually JPX, that's how I look AFTER coffee :-P

Johnny Sweatpants said...

First of all Crystal, you look nothing like that creepy chick. You're incapable of fake smiling (which makes your real smiles that much more lovely).

Secondly - great first review and welcome! I'm glad you took on Insidious so now I don't have to! I When the ghost hunters were called in I dismissed it as another cookie cutter para-nnoying shit show but this movie gave me several scares (manly ones of course).

It's fun to stare at the Darth Maul ghoul screen shot but it should be noted that he only had about 5 seconds of screen time in the whole movie (which is a good thing - there's nothing worse than a ghost with too much screen time.) I had to rewind and pause it a couple of times.

AC said...

welcome to the blog crystal math! it's good to have another participant who isn't (yet) totally habituated to horror.

JPX said...

Crystal you should be warned that JSP is known for taking his sweet time writing up reviews because he likes to rip off the plot summary from others (lazy bastard).

"You're incapable of fake smiling (which makes your real smiles that much more lovely)." Jerk.

Crystal Math said...

Hahahahaha! This is going to be a fun experience writing horror movie reviews amidst friends and competitive brothers!

Trevor (Tami's friend) said...

3 things...

1. As a math teacher and habitual drug user, I love the handle, "Crystal Math".

2. We don't have kids yet, but after watching this movie, we both talked about what a great name "Foster" would be if we had a son.

3. For anyone else that watches this, look out for the subtle references to the Saw franchise (it was directed by James Wan, the creator/director of Saw)

DCD said...

Sorry to be so late commenting on your first review, Crystal - welcome! JPX is right, by the way, JSP is renown for his plot piggy-backing technique!