There are many bumps in the night in the film Insidious, but not enough acting delivery to make the horror work. I do admit I jumped and flinched on a few occasions as director James Wan does set you up for some exciting chills, but it’s not enough to give the film even an average grade. Of course like most horror flicks these days, they’re critic proof and this one will probably still do well at the box office with teens.
The plot centers on the Lambert family who moves into a Victorian home in the burbs. Shortly thereafter, their young son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) starts having nightmares and ghostly visions. Hearing a noise in the attic, Dalton goes up in the dreary room, climbs a ladder and falls putting himself in a coma. When parents Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) cannot bring Dalton around they call in some ghost hunters in an attempt to release him from evil spirits.
The story provides nothing new and the acting slips downward as the movie plays out; in fact it gets quite ludicrous. The saving grace here are the scare techniques that James Wan (Saw) uses to get a rise out of the audience. They are very chilling at times and he inserts them intermittently much like a walk through a scary Halloween horror house.
That said, acting by Wilson (Phantom of the Opera), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) and Byrne (Knowing) goes down hill shortly after the opening sequences. I’m puzzled as to why the three consummate actors would even allow themselves to be in the B movie. As for the plot, it’s so predictable, if you don’t get it right away you need to get out of the house more often.
Oh, and in one scene the director or one of his crew was probably so bored with the film that he drew a likeness of the mask from Saw on the blackboard.
Insidious is rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror, frightening images, and brief strong language.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A shock flick that needs more tricks. (D+)