Here is a good example if a movie is truly scary or not:  If, during the movie, a couple leaves because the woman in the couple is so scared that she wants to go and the man has no choice, but to follow her out, THAT is a very good sign you are watching a HELL of a scary movie.  That is what I saw during an screening of “Insidious” the new movie by director James Wan (“Saw”) and the producers of “Paranormal Activity”.

Insidious

Insidious Poster

At first this movie appears to be an haunted house movie.  Josh and Renai Lambert have just moved into their brand new home with their three young children, Tucker, Foster and their new baby girl.  At first things just seem a little off; Renai will put away some books on a shelf and she will later find them as a mess on the floor or some sheet music she had packed away cannot be found and then be discovered up in the attic.  Then things get really bad as Dalton falls into some sort of coma.  That’s when the movie gets turned up a few notches as Renai hears strange voices on the baby monitor and she starts seeing people walking through her house and then disappear.  Unlike other haunted house movies where the family always stays put, the Lamberts move!  It turns out it is not the house that is haunted, but little Dalton himself.

Wan rises to a whole new level with this movie.  He proves himself to be a true artist and craftsmen.  It’s obvious every little detail of this movie was planned out before the cameras rolled and all that hard work he and his crew did in pre-production really paid off!  Every time you think Wan cannot raise the intensity level any higher he does so.  He finds multiple ways to scare his audience again and again and he does it without spilling almost any blood.  Some hardcore horror fans don’t believe a scary movie can be truly so unless the movie is rated R.  “Insidious” is rated PG-13 and it is scary enough to get even the toughest guy out there scared silly.  So you can officially throw that rule out the window.  “Insidious” would make a great date movie too since almost every couple at my screening were huddled up holding one another sharing a great scare.

If there is any fault with the movie is that there are times where everything seems to come to a complete stop.  Maybe Wan planned it that way so people could catch their breath and gather themselves again.  He could have just slowed things down, but instead there are moments in the movie where it feels nothing is pushing the story forward.  This does not happen often during the movie, but noticeable enough to make me say, “Hey, why’d they stop?”

There are a few nods to “Poltergeist”, but there is nothing wrong with giving an acknowledgment to one of the greatest haunted house movies of all time.  I would NOT recommend taking children to see this movie unless you feel like spending over ten grand on a psychiatrist for the next decade.

“Insidious” is that rare gem of a horror movie that can actually deliver on the horrors.  Whether you are a hardcore fan or someone who can enjoy a good scare every now and then, you should have a pretty good time at this movie.  Hopefully the PG-13 rating won’t dissuade people because they believe it will not be scary enough and they’ll just wait for the R-rated or unrated DVD to come out.  “Insidious” is the kind of horror film that can best be appreciated in a dark movie theater with a group of strangers sharing the horror experience.  Don’t deny yourself that opportunity.