My general stance that PG-13 horror movies are often times lacking in genuine scares or creativity will not be changed by James Wan’s “Insidious”, but it will probably make me re-consider before I state it.
It’s the story of a married couple, Josh and Renai (played by Patrick Wilson & Rose Byrne) whose young son, Dalton, falls into a coma after an accident in their house. The less I reveal about the film, the better. Walking into it almost clueless allowed me to appreciate its various surprises all the more. But suffice to say, some very frightening things begin happening around the house.
There’s nothing really of note when it comes to the acting although I wouldn’t say they did poor work. The dialogue is fine initially, but as the film gets steadily crazier, the dialogue gets steadily worse.
To put it simply, “Insidious” is the most terrifying movie I’ve seen in quite some time. It’s a series of pounding attacks, both on the characters and our senses that would be exhausting were it not such a fun watch.
It’s a movie that has all the regular trappings of a horror flick, given its rating of PG-13: Over-reliance on jump-scares, thrashing chords every time an object pops out, et cetera. But where “Insidious” breathes a little bit of life and generates a little bit of excitement into the genre, is its effective use of imagery to convey a sense of atmosphere, a sense of terror. There’s a constant sense of uncertainty, of never quite knowing what’s around the corner or what’s going to happen next.
Speaking as someone who tends not to be frightened by movies, “Insidious” got to me, and often. It may not distinguish itself too much from the rest of the pack, but it does lots of things differently, and for the better, I felt. B