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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Insidious

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins and Rose Byrne star in a scene from the movie "Insidious."
An awful place, The Further is. The farther you go into this hellish territory that provides the setting for much of "Insidious" (FilmDistrict), the more it looks like a reasonably ambitious Halloween house, complete with garish zombies popping out of windows, closets and walls, a fog machine and a cackling old lady or two.

Such is the mash-up nature of this horror homage that borrows liberally from older films in the genre such as "Poltergeist" and "The Amityville Horror" to create a workmanlike blend of cliches, droll sendups and banal references to a spiritual existence beyond the grave.

Director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell break no new ground. But the use of 1960s pop phenom Tiny Tim's falsetto warbling of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" at certain key moments does lend the proceedings a sort of geeky charm.

If you can manage to sit tight through an entire hour of disconnected spooky doings—involving a family fleeing what they think is a haunted house—medium Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and her ghostbusting team, Specs and Tucker (Whannell and Angus Sampson), eventually explain it all for you.

Dalton (Ty Simpkins)—the oldest child of feckless couple Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne)—falls into what doctors call an unexplained coma. It's not.

Dalton doesn't dream at night; he uses astral projection to visit The Further, a Stygian netherworld of dead souls and red-faced devils who, evidently, are big fans of Tiny Tim. Now poor Dalton is stuck there, and all manner of creepy-crawlies have been coming around his bedroom to try to take over his physical body.

Who shall rescue him? Dalton's father, it seems, doesn't know best, but Elise has a plan.

Along the way, a Catholic priest, Father Martin (John Henry Binder), makes an appearance for about as long as it takes to read this sentence. He offers no advice, tells hospitable Renai "Thanks for the tea," and departs as Josh reminds his wife that she's never been religious.

So this astral plane of tortured spirits is purely secular? Well, at least that approach keeps bad theology from being added to the mix.

The film contains fleeting crude and profane language and intense but nonviolent scenes involving children. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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James: This James is the brother of John the Evangelist. The two were called by Jesus as they worked with their father in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had already called another pair of brothers from a similar occupation: Peter and Andrew. “He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him” (Mark 1:19-20). 
<p>James was one of the favored three who had the privilege of witnessing the Transfiguration, the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus and the agony in Gethsemani. </p><p>Two incidents in the Gospels describe the temperament of this man and his brother. St. Matthew tells that their mother came (Mark says it was the brothers themselves) to ask that they have the seats of honor (one on the right, one on the left of Jesus) in the kingdom. “Jesus said in reply, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We can’” (Matthew 20:22). Jesus then told them they would indeed drink the cup and share his baptism of pain and death, but that sitting at his right hand or left was not his to give—it “is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b). It remained to be seen how long it would take to realize the implications of their confident “We can!” </p><p>The other disciples became indignant at the ambition of James and John. Then Jesus taught them all the lesson of humble service: The purpose of authority is to serve. They are not to impose their will on others, or lord it over them. This is the position of Jesus himself. He was the servant of all; the service imposed on him was the supreme sacrifice of his own life. </p><p>On another occasion, James and John gave evidence that the nickname Jesus gave them—“sons of thunder”—was an apt one. The Samaritans would not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to hated Jerusalem. “When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?’ Jesus turned and rebuked them...” (Luke 9:54-55). </p><p>James was apparently the first of the apostles to be martyred. “About that time King Herod laid hands upon some members of the church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1-3a). </p><p>This James, sometimes called James the Greater, is not to be confused with James the Lesser (May 3) or with the author of the Letter of James and the leader of the Jerusalem community.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t need so much to talk about God but to allow people to feel how God lives within us, that’s our work.

 
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