Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey
Directed by James Wan (Saw)
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language
Appropriate for ages 16+

When their child slips into a coma, his family starts to see strange apparitions around their home.  When they discover that those apparitions, composed of demons and ghosts, want into his body, they set out on a journey to keep their son from being possessed and having his soul permanently trapped in another dimension.  

For the first hour of insidious, the film is extremely scary.  Scary to the point where every hair on your body will be standing up as if they are warding off the spirits themselves.  For this alone, the film is worth watching.  It steals a little bit from Poltergeist, but it is largely original.  Rather than having the body stuck in the TV, its the soul that is trapped in what the medium calls “the further.”  Okay – bad name.  I like the name “the in-between” from The Lovely Bones better, but we can’t change that now.  I digress.  The demon and ghosts are horribly frightening until you find out what they actually are.  

And that’s when the movie loses its edge. Once the technology of ghost whispering comes into play, the movie relies on comedy relief and weird contraptions to help the family – and loses what momentum it had going.  The technology should have enhanced the film and instead it got in the way.

I was also very disappointed in the look and feel of “the further.”  There was great room for creative freedom in its construction, and the end result was just boring.  Not only was it simply a dark, confusing house, but the special effects looked like something out of a 70’s horror film, not from the creators of Saw.  There was a real opportunity to not only scare, but to mystify as well.  Instead we are left with half of a good horror film.  But that half is pretty darn good.  B-