It’s not the house that is haunted. It’s your son
Much has been made of the yearly quota of horror sequels and the stifling effect it has had on quality. With James Wan’s latest film Insidious, it marks return to a more traditional framework of horror.
Except not all is what it seems with Insidious, differentiating itself from more recent haunted house fare such as Paranormal Activity. It plays on the conventions of the haunted house before evolving into something else, deviating enough to make it feel fresh.
Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are Josh and Renai Lambert, a married couple who have moved in to a new house with their young son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and their newborn baby. Upon investigating a noise in the attic Dalton falls into an inexplicable coma. Examining all avenues available they find out that their son is trapped in a realm called The Further and that evil spirits are attempting to use his body as a gateway into the real world.
Effectively scary and atmospheric, Insidious is a traditional horror with all the accoutrements the genre brings. What elevates this film above its contemporaries are the relationships between Byrne and Wilson, which creates tension and adds to the eerie atmosphere Wan conjures up.
It is not a classic, but Insidious is one of the more interesting horror films of recent years.