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(aka "The Astral" or "The Further")

 

directed by James Wan
USA 2011

 

Strange things start happening to the Lambert family when they move into a new house. Objects are never where they were before, the burglar alarm keeps going off in the middle of the night and the front door is open, malevolent voices are heard on the baby monitor, and songwriter mother Renai (Rose Byrne, WICKER PARK) starts seeing apparitions. Suddenly, oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD) falls into a coma for which the doctors cannot diagnose the cause. After three months in the hospital, the still-comatose Dalton is transported home and the frightening events resume (starting with younger son Tucker [Andrew Astor, THE HANGOVER] telling his mother that he doesn't like it when Dalton walks around at night). Renai becomes increasingly frightened, but her schoolteacher husband Josh (Patrick Wilson, HARD CANDY) has been staying at work late (ostensibly to grade papers, but he usually falls asleep at his desk) and is not around to share her fears. Still skeptical about the idea that the house is haunted, Josh nevertheless agrees to move and the family buy a smaller, but more modern house. Renai quickly realizes that the haunting force has followed them to the new house and the apparitions are becoming more tangible. Josh believes that Renai is stressed out until his own mother Lorraine (Barbara Hershey, PORTRAIT OF A LADY) confesses to seeing a demonic figure that she believes wants Dalton. Lorraine brings in old friend Elise (Lin Shaye, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) and her cooky assistants Specs (the film's screenwriter Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE) who diagnose the paranormal events as something significantly more "insidious" than a simple haunting. Billed as being coming from the makers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (producer Jason Blum) and SAW (director James Wan and writer/actor Leigh Whannell) - watch out for a remake of the Spanish "found footage" haunting movie ATROCIOUS "from the makers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and INSIDIOUS" - INSIDIOUS had a fairly intriguing set of trailers and TV spots and open to mostly good reviews - among horror sites, reviews were mixed by largely favorable while pointing out flaws - and the resulting film was a departure from both of the preceding films. There's no torture porn gore nor found footage (although the plot makes use of photographic evidence of the paranormal). Only one of the jump scares really works - the one you've seen in the TV spots - the filmmakers work in some frissons with glimpsed sights not spiked by music stingers. There are plenty of nit-pick worthy plot details - more so because the filmmakers reportedly made a list of haunted house cliches to avoid - but the main problem with the film is that the script switches the focal character from the mother during the first half of the script to the father for the second half. Wilson, who seemed kind of bland during the first part, is up to the challenge, but Byrne (who was good during the first half) is given little to do but give terrified reactions for the remainder of the film. The POLTERGEIST-esque trip into "The Further" is not as extravagantly visual as the ILM-augmented journey into "the other side" but it is similarly underwhelming. The obligatory surprise ending is not really a surprise - and it may have been written in as such - but the film as a whole is not a bad way to spend an evening. Wilson and child actor Simpkins had previously appeared together in Todd Field's LITTLE CHILDREN. Shaye has an impressive cult movie resume starting with small roles in Jack Sholder's ALONE IN THE DARK (and later THE HIDDEN), and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (and later WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE) and larger roles in CRITTERS, CRITTERS 2, the direct-to-video AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION, and DEAD END, and seems to have found a new horror star niche in the new millennium.

Eric Cotenas

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1 April 2011 (USA)

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DVD Review: Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:38:15
Video

2.40:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.49 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.40:1

Edition Details:
• Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar (16:9; 10:00)
• On Set with INSIDIOUS (16:9; 7:53)
• INSIDIOUS Entities (16:9; 6:15)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 0:46)
• Startup trailers for THE WOMAN IN BLACK, TROLL HUNTER, SEASON OF THE WITCH, and LIMITLESS

DVD Release Date: September 12th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

INSIDIOUS keeps most of its terrors in the shadows; however, these are digitally color corrected and manipulated shadows, so Momentum's dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer is up to the task. It should go without saying that the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is faultless, and makes use of the usual horror movie surround manipulations (Blu-ray editions also utilize the 5.1 configuration, albeit in DTS Master Audio).

The extras are limited to the usual EPK extras (no deleted scenes or commentary but I wouldn't be surprised if some extended or collector's edition pops up in the US in a few months or in conjunction with a sequel). A Blu-ray will also be available (HERE). The extras for the UK DVD and Blu-ray seem identical to that of the already available Region 1/A American editions (other than a BD-Live option on the latter).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Momentum Pictures

Region 2 - PAL

 

 




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