Insidious: Review

An ambitious horror film from the Saw director, but one that lacks the teeth of that series.

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Director: James Wan
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey
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The first time the director Wan and the writer-actor Leigh Whannell made a film, the result was Saw, a movie that inspired six sequels, a theme park ride and a trend for torture films.

It's hard to imagine their latest collaboration, Insidious, having the same effect, not least because it feels like a step back in time to the days of Poltergeist and other haunted-house horrors. Byrne and Wilson play Renai, a stay-at-home composer, and Josh, a high-school teacher, whose move into their dream house with their three children soon becomes a waking nightmare.

Their young son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) suffers a fall, then slips into a coma, then things begin to go bump morning, noon and night, as an almighty spectre starts to make its presence felt. The scares are genuine enough – Wan preferring decibel-shattering sounds to CG-shocks – and Whannell and Angus Sampson offer some much-needed comic relief as two ghostbusters.

But it all unravels in the final third, as endless exposition mingles with a far-fetched conclusion when absent father Josh steps into the next dimension to sort out those daddy issues. As fright nights go, Insidious never quite lives up to its name.

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