Insidious opens with the Lambert family having just moved into a spacious house in the suburbs. In between taking care of three energetic kids, the mom (Rose Byrne) notices things out of place, like books and boxes. Things escalate quickly when her eldest son goes into an inexplicable coma. Unnerved by a sudden onslaught of ghostly visitors, the Lamberts move to another house, but the hauntings continue.
This is basically Poltergeist, but the kid is haunted, not the house. After the mom, all alone in the new house, naturally, gets spooked almost out of her mind, she convinces her husband to call "someone who can help." This person brings a team with equipment. Again, Poltergeist. The expert explains that the child is in another place, and must be brought back before it's too late. Say it with me: POL. TER. GEIST.
Despite that, I was willing to give Insidious a chance. I thought it could be enjoyable if considered as sci-fi, rather than horror. I could have forgiven its non-suspenseful writing -- for example, the dad's (Patrick Wilson) connection to all the strangeness is telegraphed within the first ten minutes of the movie -- but the dumb ending ruined everything. Everything! Sure, the real villain's INSIDIOUSNESS makes the title apt, but the Big Bad is nowhere near as fleshed out (figuratively, of course) as the freakish watery corpse-monster of Mama.
Insidious also has too many WTF moments. One, what is with the poster? At no point did the kid look that creepy. Two, what was the point of the scene where the girl killed her family? Three, where is the payoff for constantly flinging the grandfather clock in the audience's face? Practically every three minutes the camera is pointed at the clock, with dun-dun-dunnnn! music playing in the background. It's even there at the murder scene. It must be important! Except, it's not? Finally, what is the point of making sure we know that Patrick Wilson's character is vain? Why did Rose Byrne's character not have a personality? Why is this movie not marketed as a prophylactic against having children? WTF?
I hear they're doing a sequel. If they have the same writer, the grandfather clock will probably turn out to be carved from the wood where a witch was hung, designed by her mad grieving lover, and then recovered from a Native American burial ground. Oh, and sold by a self-serving real estate agent. I hope I covered every possible trope from Poltergeist and beyond. Honestly, Hollywood should just hire me.
In conclusion: watch something else horrific that came out in the same year as Insidious, like The Crazies, Let Me In, or the 2010 Midterm Elections that swept the Tea Party into political power. Let the nightmares continue...