INSIDIOUS HAS ITS MOMENTS. In fact, it's much better and scarier than it has a right to be, seeing as it's helmed by director James Wan, the man who unleashed the Saw franchise on the world. If you can forgive the stilted acting, a heavy-handed musical score, and a trimmable 15 or so minutes, you might even call it a decent horror flick. Basically it's Poltergeist with a yuppie bent and without the '80s sheen, as an uptight family moves into a haunted house—only to find that their craftsman isn't filled with ghosts, their son is.
Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) and their brood move into a big spooky house jam-crammed with specters who move boxes and shove books off shelves. But it's cool, you know, no harm, no foul—until their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a mysterious coma and the poltergeists start getting more... insidious. So finally the Lamberts have enough of ghosts leaving bloody handprints on their bed sheets, and move to a different house. But lo, it's Dalton who's haunted, says crazy psychic lady (Lin Shaye) and her ridiculous gang of ghostbusters (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson). Apparently the kid's astral body is trapped in ghost purgatory and an eeevil red-faced demon (Darth Maul) is trying to inhabit Dalton's physical body. Crazy astral projection coach lady to the rescue!
Insidious has a pretty strong thing going for a while, full of old-school horror tropes and B-movie fun and jumpy scares. It's tense and creepy, until the second half, when it reaches heights of silliness in the ghost world that completely muck up the whole affair. Darth Maul loses steam as the bad guy, replaced by pod-people ghosts and a boring journey through the netherworld. But overall, it's nice to see that James Wan remembers the movies that got him psyched about horror in the first place.