Year of Release: 2011
Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lyn Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, Corbett Tuck, Joseph Bishara
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
James Wan has made a name for himself directing suspense and horror films, namely "Saw" (which started the franchise that spawned 7 films) and "Death Sentence". "Insidious" is his new collaboration with actor/screenwriter Leigh Whannell, who also wrote "Saw" and Oren Peli, who was the director of the hugely successful film "Paranormal Activity".
The film follows the Lambert family as they settle in a new house. Josh and Renai have three children, Dalton being the eldest and the one prone to investigate and get into trouble. Following a small accident in the house, Dalton becomes unconscious and all the medical exams can't seem to figure out what is wrong with him. While taking care of the young child, Renai starts noticing and hearing voices around the house, figures that appear and disappear, scaring her senseless. After their decisions prove worthless, Josh and Renai decide to ask for the help of Elise Rainier, a psychic who they believe can provide the answers they are looking for.
James Wan creates with "Insidious" a smart and suspenseful film, that lives from suggestion and the environment that slowly is created, as opposed to gore and piles of dead bodies. He manages to create a feeling of unease, that slowly showcases the nuclear family being attacked from a supernatural menace. The fact that the main target is a child, makes the film even scarier, as it represents the innocence of a young child being destroyed. The film does have it's weaker moments when Wan decides to bring his ghosts to life, but overall the film is genuinely scary with moments of tension that keep escalating.
The actors are uniformly good, with highlights going to Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and the always great Barbara Hershey. Worth watching.