Looking for a fright this weekend? Insidious, the new haunted house horror flick from the creators of Saw (director James Wan) and the producers of Paranormal Activity hits theaters Friday. At Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman says Insidious "has some of the most shivery and indelible images I've seen in any horror film in decades. Yes, it's that unsettling.” Is it really so scary? (Watch the Insidious trailer.)
Yes, it's pretty frightening: Insidious shows that the filmmakers behind Saw and Paranormal Activity are capable of making "flesh crawl" without relying on the gore and gimmicks of those previous films, says John Anderson in The Wall Street Journal. It's a more subtle film with a quality cast — Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey. Director James Wan provides only "fleeting glimpses of the ghouls" that haunt the characters, putting "the viewer on tenterhooks, imposing the kind of involuntary immobility that is a side effect only of the more psychologically disturbing fright films."
"Insidious: Scary eyeful of the unknown"
At times: The filmmakers are obviously aiming higher than their previous work, says Andrew O'Hehir at Salon. There are touches of Kubrick and David Lynch in this retro collection of "scratchy noises, strange apparitions with bad Goth hairstyles and other gradually intensifying weirdness." But the movie starts to seem like a "second-rate" remake of supernatural classics — even if the director and writer "nearly redeem themselves with a stinger ending that may just catch you napping."
"Insidious": "Saw" creators go back to horror basics
Not at all: "Insidious is a crashing bore, and will likely only frighten people who have never seen any horror movies," says Daniel M. Kimmel at North Shore Movies. It's a pale imitation of Poltergeist. Its climatic moments are "hilariously preposterous and not the least bit frightening." Viewers are better off renting Poltergeist or checking out more recent horror flicks like Drag Me To Hell.
"Review — Insidious"
If nothing else, it's noisy: When Insidious is engaging in "low-tech haunted-house high jinks," it's "scary as hell... all creaks and thumps and doors swinging open," says David Edelstein in New York. But when the clanging, bombarding special effects take over, things are far less frightful. "It's gore-free, which means they spare your eyes but batter your ears," making for a "fear not the reaper — only tinnitus" situation.
"The dullness of being earnest"