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Insidious: Not Quite Cleaver

Would that Jerry Schram's bargain-basement digital cheapie Insidious had the blood and guts (and Baldwin brother) of Christopher Moltisanti's Cleaver. Ostensibly about the efforts of a young man named Donny (James Schram) to finance the very movie we're watching, this unwieldy Manhattan murder mystery with lame-brained aspirations to meta-ness boasts the plot of a dozen Abel Ferrara movies and the style and gravitas of none. Schram frames shots at penis-level and foregrounds hair not seen since the Jersey Shore circa 1985, suturing scenes of unlikely mob dealings with scenic shots of New York City drenched in smoky jazz and frat-jock metal stylings seemingly ripped from the Melrose Place soundtrack. But what really stands out is the pointlessly Altman-sized cast flexing acting muscles that went out with the silent film. Before taking center stage as the main character's long-lost father, Schram has already stacked the deck in favor of the preposterous, with one particularly gratuitous subplot hilariously and insanely culminating with Donny being asked for a vial of his ejaculate by a professor whose "F" he's trying to erase from his college record. "You have to look at shit in a different way," someone says at some point—almost as if he were Schram's defense attorney. Or you can just look at it as shit.


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