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Sony / 103 Minutes / 2011 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: July 12, 2011
I'm sure this will read as being wildly pompous, but I'm pretty much ready to throw 99% of PG-13 horror movies under the bus. Yeah, I know - there are some creepy-crawly flicks that work as suspense potboilers rather than all-out gorefests (and therefore don't need the hindrance of an R rating), but unless you're Hitchcock or Polanski, it's a good bet that if you make a relatively family-friendly horror flick, you'll miss the mark.
Now that I read that, I recognize that I'm overstating it, but I blame it all on the heated post-viewing anger that Insidious instilled in me. This thriller from James Wan - the fucked-up lunatic behind the original Saw - had all the potential and reserve to be a super-freaky terrorizer, a movie that might make Stephen King himself keep the night-light on for a couple nights. But aside from a few well-placed scares, Insidious is simply too limp for its own good.
I mean, look at this setup: Josh and Renai (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) buy a house, and their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) gets attacked somehow in the attic. After a few months in the hospital, the kid comes home, and that's when the real shit starts to hit the fan. Long story short: The things that happen to this nice family are not covered in typical homeowner insurance plans.
There are legitimate scares in the film and Wan concocts a sizable mood that permeates every nook and cranny of Insidious' creepy scenario, but I couldn't help but think of what might have been if the filmmakers gave their PG-13 rating the finger. Yes, the movie was a hit as it is, but within Insidious is a seriously spooky affair - it's a shame that we couldn't get a full view of it.