May 5 2011 By Fraser Glen
ALTHOUGH this movie may be brought to us by the same team that gave us the Saw franchise - director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell - a surprising lack of devious and sick death traps are forthcoming in Insidious.
Instead of blood and guts, Insidious focuses on reverting back, for the most part anyway, to the spooky house genre.
The film begins with married couple Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) moving into a new house with their two young sons and baby.
While the family try to adjust to their new home, with Josh out working as a teacher, stay-at-home mother Renai begins to notice some spooky events around the house.
The real story begins when oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is spooked into falling off a ladder, while exploring the creepy attic in the house, causing him to bump his head. However, the next morning Dalton does not wake up and the doctors cannot explain his coma.
Renai tries to care for Dalton over the next few months, all while trying to deal with the unusual events, before finally persuading her husband that they need to move.
Of course, when they move somewhere else and nothing is revolved, they finally realise it is not the house that is haunted but it is Dalton.
The final option for them is to resort, stereotypically, to a psychic medium. And it is from here that the film starts to go downhill.
The second half of the film is less reality-based, relying on CGI animations and a demon reminiscent of Darth Maul from Star Wars to produce the scares.
Surprisingly, the main roles in this film are given to well-known names - Wilson and Byrne - instead of young up-and-comers.
Both do a solid job along with a cameo from Barbara Hershey, the mother of Josh, who has a dark secret but Lin Shaye steals the show as Elise the psychic reader.
If Insidious had continued the way it started, the film would be great. The unexplained happenings and noises produce good old-fashioned scares but unfortunately, the dodgy CGI demons in the second half, are more laughable than terrifying.
Sometimes some things are better just left to the imagination.