My Take On Insidious And Astral Travel

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | Published in



OK, confession time. I did not know the meaning of this word INSIDIOUS.

A check with Merriam-Webster site revealed the following definitions:
1. awaiting a chance to entrap (treacherous)
2. harmful but enticing (seductive)
3. having a gradual and cumulative effect (subtle)

If you didn't already know, INSIDIOUS is the title of a new horror movie playing in cinemas right now. As a horror movie fan, I heard some good reviews about this movie and decided to catch it yesterday.

Before you proceed, take note - SPOILERS AHEAD!

But first, you might want to watch this trailer from the movie.

Frankly speaking, I was not at all impressed with the trailer. It didn't look that scary to me, but on learning that INSIDIOUS is a collaboration between Saw co-creators James Wan & Leigh Wannell and the Paranormal Activity team comprising Oren Peli, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider, I decided to give it a go.

Director James Wan on the set of Insidious

I did not expect it to be scarier than The Exorcist - still the scariest horror movie to me - and it wasn't. Well, I was hoping it would be scarier than The Eye, my No.1 horror movie from Hong Kong directed by the Pang Brothers, but it still wasn't.

You know how it's like after I watched The Eye? Right after I stepped out of the cinema, I started to imagine things whether I was in the lift, in my room alone or in the bathroom! The Eye really freaked me out for weeks! Now that's what I call a real horror movie!!

In fact, I even find The Ring (the original Japanese horror movie), Shutter (the original Thai horror movie) and The Exorcism Of Emily Rose much scarier than Insidious.

The Ring was horribly disturbing, especially with that video thingy; Shutter gave me the goose bumps especially with the nightmarish shocking ending and Emily Rose made me worry about waking up at 3am every night!

Insidious? Let's just say I was not at all traumatized leaving the cinema hall. Haha! Perhaps I watched too many horror movies and it's getting harder to scare me? Maybe.

But that does not mean Insidious is not a good movie. It was simply not scary enough for me, but it was engrossing enough to keep me at the edge of my seat, at least for the first half of the movie. Yes, it was more suspenseful than it was scary, at least to me.

Briefly, the movie is about a couple Josh and Renai Lambert (played by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne respectively) whom upon moving into their new home with their three kids discovers that their house is haunted and that their son Dalton has inexplicably fallen into a coma. In order to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to discover a shocking truth - it is not their house that was haunted, but their son!

Now that revelation may be shocking for the couple but definitely not to us viewers. That's because the filmmakers had already revealed that the boy is the source of the hauntings in the trailer! I thought this sort of hurt the movie a bit since I would have preferred to discover it myself during the movie! Oh well, maybe they needed a twist since not many would want to watch another movie about some haunted house!

Anyway, to cut the story short, Dalton is found to be gifted at astral travel in his sleep. Don't know what astral travel is?

Image courtesy of

Astral travel or astral projection is an out-of-body experience where the person who practises it is able to project his "astral self" or consciousness out of his physical body and travel in the astral plane. It appears that some people are more gifted in this than others but experts in astral travel claimed that everyone can do it if one practises enough.

In fact, some experts said that all of us travel out of our body in our sleep every night! Read more HERE.

Image courtesy of Mind Petals

Since astral travel seems like a foreign topic to most people, many are afraid of trying it out of fear that they may not be able to return to their physical body. Some people are also afraid that evil spirits will possess their physical body while they are away on astral travel.

And this is exactly what this movie Insidious is trying to exploit. That fear that you cannot return to your physical body and forever trapped in the astral world while an evil spirit takes over. Creepy.

Image courtesy of Wisdom Quarterly

Experts on astral travel had however, debunked such thoughts as myths. Some maintained that you are connected to your physical body by a silver cord and this cord cannot be severed under any circumstances unless you are to leave your body forever like in the case of death. Others said that actually it is only your consciousness that is traveling, your soul is still in your physical body. But with no concrete proof of this, would you believe in the experts?

The bottomline is, are you daring enough to try astral travel? If yes, here is a step-by-step guide on how you can travel out of your body. Do it at your own risk yes? : )

Back to the movie, Dalton is highly gifted in astral projection and because he had traveled a bit too far into the dark realm called "The Further", he could not find his way back. His physical body lapses into a coma and this attracts all those spirits who are craving to possess his body.

That certainly explains all the hauntings that the couple experienced, but that's not their only problem. It seems that in the dark realm, there is a demon who is hell-bent to possess their son's body and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

And from then onwards, the movie started to remind me of Steven Spielberg's Poltergeist with the arrival of the three ghost hunters with their gadgets and mumbo jumbos. It all still remain quite engrossing and entertaining until the descend into the dark realm.

I was really quite put off with all those dead souls, like the bunch of dead family members in the living room, the laughing child that runs across the hallway, and the demon himself. It was not even scary anymore! Oh by the way, did anyone notice that the demon looks like Darth Maul from Star Wars? Or is it just me?

And to see Dalton with his legs chained to the floor presumably by the demon? I mean, seriously? This just makes it look like a scene taken out from Charmed or Supernatural! Gosh!

So yes, the movie started off really well and managed to build up its suspense and momentum effectively. There were many creepy moments like the raspy whispers on the baby monitor and the front door of the house found wide open in the middle of the night. And of course the sudden appearance of the demon behind Josh almost threw me off my seat!

The actors all did a great job and this include excellent performances from Barbara Hershey as Josh's mom and Lin Shaye as the ghostbuster.

Unfortunately, it started to go downhill from the moment Josh crossed over to the other side towards the later part of the movie. Maybe they showed too much of the ghosts? Over exposure is never a good thing in horror movies and I think the filmmakers made a mistake of doing just that.

Also I thought some of the scenes in the later part of the movie looked funny and probably a bit corny. If they wanted to be funny, then I think that Sam Raimi did a better job with his movie Drag Me To Hell. Now that was one hell of an entertaining horror movie!

Still, I consider Insidious to be one of the better horror movies among all those mediocre horror movies churned out by Hollywood. I am rating it as follows:
Scariness : 6/10
Suspense : 9/10
Storyline : 7/10
Acting : 9/10

One thing's for sure though. I will never attempt astral travel. Not after watching this movie!