Jenny is on the way to a music festival but gets lost in the middle of the night so she stops at a hotel on the side of a road. At the hotel she meets David, the only person working there for the night. He gives her a room and something to eat, and when it's time to go to bed she gets the feeling that there is someone else in the room. And there is. Before too long, Jenny is chased by a maniac only to get killed. After the disappearance of her sister Sarah sets out to find her and ends up at the same hotel, the Bridgeburn Hotel.
"Evil Ed". That movie is nothing less than perfect. Few movies produced in Sweden have been as good as "Evil Ed" was and "Insane" is the new film from the same team. Anticipation was slowly killing me before the screener of this movie came with the mail. Would the team behind one of the best splatter movies of all time pull off a slasher movie, 12 whole years after their masterpiece? The slasher genre is over-populated by movies who either try to reach the success that "Scream" got back in the 90's, or who wants to pay tribute to the wonderful 80's (also known as the hay day of slasher movies). Most barely pay homage to them, instead they rip them off. When "Red Velvet" came, we did a little happy dance because we finally found an original slasher that still pays homage to the classics. While "Red Velvet" might be the better of the two, "Insane", a tribute to John Carpenter, Dario Argento and slasher films, still makes me proud to be a Swede.
Worth mentioning before moving on is that this film was made to prove the point that good movies can be made without help from the "Swedish Film Institute". Also, the screener I received was an early cut. There are more death scenes filmed that MIGHT end up in the final cut.
Like the classics, "Insane" starts off with a murder (in the creepy Bridgeburn Hotel) before opening credits roll. A murder that reminded me of the knife-through-the-head-scene in "House By The Cemetery". After the opening credits we're introduced to the first character we're supposed to care about, Jenny. She's on her way to a festival, but got lost because she used an old map that didn't show the new road. Instead she ends up at the Bridgeburn Hotel where she decides to spend the night. In the hotel she meets David, a creepy hotel worker who seems to be the only one in the entire hotel. They hang out for a while before she goes to sleep, only to be disturbed by a loud breathing sound from the very same room. She turn on the lights only to see a man in a gas mask. Scared for her life, she manages to run away from the maniac. But not for long. Two weeks later her sister Sarah is looking for her, and arrives at the Bridgeburn looking for clues. David, the hotel worker, says he hasn't seen her but she quickly notices that something isn't right. Without spoiling too much of the good stuff, this is the plot of the film. Even though we follow Jenny long enough to think she is the main character, and sometimes I kinda wish she was, it was still nice that the movie mixed it up a bit instead of having one single girl run away from a killer through-out the entire movie. The story is solid and it works really well, although I feel that the movie worked better before they brought yet another character into it; Sarah's boyfriend. He's not annoying or acted poorly, but as soon as he came into the movie I felt that all the tension it had built up before that kinda went away. Sort of like in "The Strangers" when the movie stops being scary the minute the boyfriend comes back home. This was something that actually made me prefer the first half of "Insane".
Acting-wise they all do a great job even though they are Swedes, much like in "Evil Ed". Sometimes the Swedish accents come across, but they do a good job making us believe they are English. Something people from Sweden might notice is the actor Lars Bethke (who plays David), because we've all seen him in some shitty soap operas. Lars Bethke is good as the creepy hotel guy, and he does a good job staying on the line between a lonely man and a total creep. Had the actors been worse than they are, the movie would've been shit because the film has more story and dialogue than chasing and killing.
What really makes this movie stand out is the locations. The "Bridgeburn Hotel" (actually called "Brännebrona Värdshus & Hotell") has an odd design and looks nothing like your typical creepy mansion-ish hotel, as in films like "The Shining", but it's equally as creepy. In the movie (I don't know if that's located at the real location or not), there's also a creepy quarry next to the hotel, and luckily that's where the movie takes us toward the ending. I can't think of a slasher that I've praised for it's locations before. I love the woods and all that, but this was something else.
The film might not be very gory, have plenty of nudity, or have the most original plot, but it's better than what most have pulled off lately and most of all it's entertaining. The movie has good characters and it doesn't bring in more characters that needed only to kill them off (although we'll see how the final cut ends up). "Insane" has a creepy atmosphere and is both fun and well-made, but I think that there could've been some adjusting in the plot. The killer was great, his gimmick of photographing the victims before and after the attack was well executed, so on that end it's all good. However, Sarah's side of the plot never felt important after the boyfriend was brought into the film. I felt it didn't really focus on the lost sister anymore, and the good stalker scenes were replaced by physical kick-and-punch-action scenes. But fuck it, I liked "Insane" alot. It's a good movie when all is said and done, and most importantly it's a big fuck you to the "big man".