Monday, July 18, 2011


Here’s one of the few horror films in recent times that actually does live up to the hype.

A young couple, Josh & Renai Lambert (and their three children), move into a home which, after only a short while, reveals itself to be haunted – both by marginally benevolent and largely malevolent entities.

Dalton, the oldest of the children, falls from an attic ladder and sustains a slight head injury. The next morning, Josh tries unsuccessfully to wake the boy up to go to school, so it’s off to the hospital they go.

The doctors diagnose Dalton as being in a coma, and yet they are only guessing this because his symptoms are things they’ve never dealt with before. After a time, the hospital can do nothing for him, so Dalton is sent home to lay in his room in his comatose state. A visiting nurse comes by to check on him, do vitals, etc.

Renai gets freaked out when odd occurrences begin to manifest, including a sighting of a very frightening entity in the baby’s room. After a time, she begs Josh to allow them to move out of the house. He reluctantly agrees but remains unsure that what his wife is feeling is real.

Once the family is situated in new digs, things start happening again. Josh’s Mom (Barbara Hershey) becomes quite alarmed and contacts an old friend of hers, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), who is a paranormal researcher, for a “reading” of the house. As it turns out, the house isn’t haunted – Dalton is. From there on out, it’s a race against time to bring Dalton’s soul back from the astral plane where it is trapped, so that the entity will not be able to possess the boy.

It would not be a spoiler, really, to tell you it is discovered that Josh, as a young boy, had a similar experience but has blocked it out for many years. The photos of the child Josh that he is shown as an adult are especially creepy and bring the adult Josh full circle, so to speak. To say anything beyond that about it WOULD be a spoiler and I’m certainly not going to do that.

Warning: There is some VERY disturbing imagery in this movie that may stay with you awhile, but, hey, this goes beyond your typical haunted house film.

Outstanding performances from Barbara Hershey (in her scariest role since “The Entity”) and the wonderful Lin Shaye as the kindly Elise. You may remember Lin from comedies like THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY and KINGPIN (she’s the landlady who accepts “servicing” from Woody Harrelson in lieu of his rent payments) and from the intense SNAKES ON A PLANE.

For what it’s worth, I will never be able to listen to Tiny Tim’s version of “Tip Toe Thru The Tulips” again and not think of INSIDIOUS. You’ll see what I mean.

Highly recommended for viewing after the kids have gone to sleep. Even then I can’t guarantee that there won’t be some nightmares in the house afterwards.