April 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Insidious is a haunted-house movie that has some of the most shivery and indelible images I’ve seen in any horror film in decades. Yes, it’s that unsettling. Directed by James Wan (Saw) and produced by Oren Peli, the auteur of the Paranormal Activity films, the movie is about a couple (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) whose home is plagued by the usual clanks, growls, and playfully sinister disturbances. Then one of the family’s young sons lapses into a coma. It’s his spirit that’s been hijacked, overtaken by ghosts who have a way of showing their creepy, smiling, old-fashioned nightmare faces at just the right moment to goose you with anxiety. Lin Shaye plays the psychic exorcist who can see into their world, and her fluky cornball intensity lifts the film into a realm of menacing excitement. Wan is better known for severed limbs than subtlety, but here he reaches back to the stately spookiness of the 1962 low-budget classic Carnival of Souls and adds a touch of early David Lynch to conjure up a vision of hell that is terrifying in its dreamlike banality. Like most haunted-house films, Insidious is a contraption, but it’s one that won’t let go of you. A?

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type
Movie
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
102 minutes
director
Cast
Ty Simpkins
Studio
Complete Coverage

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