Movie review: Insidious

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Apparently even the creators of the "Saw" franchise think torture porn is fairly tired at this point.

For "Insidious," "Saw" filmmaker James Wan teams with Oren Peli ("Paranormal Activity") as producer and adopts Peli's M.O.: A less-is-more approach to an old-fashioned ghost story.

After moving into a new home, a married couple (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) and their two young sons start noticing unexplained noises and frightening apparitions. Before long - but not before the older boy slips into an unexplained coma - the bad vibes lead to another move, and trouble follows.

From a team of supernatural researchers, the couple learns there are evil spirits angling for control of their son's body. With one creepy, red-skinned demon, Wan makes the best use of the movie's low-tech scare approach.

Though the filmmakers eschew the extreme gore, in the storytelling, there's still too blunt a force at work. Spirit-world conversations are elaborately hokey instead of spine-tingling, and elements of plot and imagery are awkwardly co-opted from "The Shining," "Poltergeist" and a couple of other, more terrifying films.


Opens Friday

2.5 stars out of 4