The makers of Saw construct a meditative tale of the supernatural that’s filled with old-fashioned scares rather than modern gore in the surprisingly fun Insidious. Not only is it the rare PG-13 rated horror film that is just as effective as its R-rated counterparts, but it’s also one of the first great movies of 2011…it only took three months.
The Lambert family is haunted by old timey ghosts following an accident that lands their young son in a coma. They move houses, but to no avail thus opening up the possibility that the problem lies not in the home, but in the humans within. Paranormal investigators soon enter the story and things progress in unpredictable directions, many of which are silly, but easily forgiven. The film features a small cast led by Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Rose Byrne (TV’s Damages) as the frustrated heads of the haunted family. The film’s frightening bits rely on corner-of-your-eye movement and abrupt edits, which work nicely against the slow, foreboding atmosphere that is immediately established post-opening credit sequence (the graphics of which really don’t match the film, but again, easily forgiven). A ton of fun and a valuable reminder that early American-era clothing and Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” are always scary.
Insidious opens wide in Philly-area theaters today.