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Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JAMES Wan and Leigh Wannell, the creative force behind the original Saw movie, team up yet again to brilliant effect with the scary horror movie Insidious.

Conceived around the same time as Saw, this latest chiller is a spine-tingler par excellence that relies on a more conventional approach to getting it’s chills.

When married couple Renai and Josh Lambert (played by Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson) move into their new home with their two young sons they quickly become convinced that all’s not right. Furniture keeps moving and things, quite literally, go bump in the night.

Matters get worse when their son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), slips into a coma after a fall in the loft. But as the supernatural events continue to get worse, and seem targeted towards Dalton, the couple are forced to seek outside help.

As with most haunted house stories, the less you know before going in, the more effective the jumps will be – and director Wan and writer Wannell have plenty of tricks up their sleeve to make you jump out of your seat.

The opening two thirds of the film are extremely unsettling as the tension keeps rising, while Wilson and Byrne bring a believable everyman quality to their characters that makes them worth rooting for.

Admittedly, the final third of the movie stands or falls depending on how much you buy into the concept of different realms, but even then it remains fun because of the way Wan and partner manipulate the scares while also injecting some much needed humour (by virtue of Lin Shaye’s paranormal expert Elise and her two scene-stealing helpers, one of whom is played by Wannell).

The ensuing experience is therefore comparable to the crowd baiting chills of Paranormal Activity, whose producers are also on board for this, with a little Poltergeist thrown in.

Wan and Wannell, meanwhile, deserve praise for keeping the tension and enjoyment factor so high while only really relying on simple (and therefore low budget) devices such as darkness and silence to generate fear.

It’s also something of a relief to realise there is more to their make-up than Saw, the original brilliance of which has threatened to become blunted by the endless sequels.

With Insidious, they’re back to their sharpest, scare inducing best!

Certificate: 15
Running time: 103mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: September 12, 2011