Insidious *** ½
The movie opens, like so many horror movies do, with a seemingly perfect family moving into a new house. The husband, Josh (Patrick Wilson) is a teacher, and the wife Renai (Rose Bryne) is a songwriter, who stays at home to raise their three kids. It is, like all houses in horror movies, a big, old, gothic house, with creaky floorboards and a strange attic. One of their sons climbs up to the attic one night, thinks he sees something, and falls off a ladder. He appears fine, but the next day, he won’t wake up. They take him to a hospital, and they can find nothing medically wrong with him to explain why he is a coma. Eventually, he’ll come home with them, still in his coma, and that’s when strange things start happening. Renai starts freaking out about what she is seeing, and Josh avoids it all by staying late at work. And, in a novel twist for a haunted house movie, this family does actually move this time – but it doesn’t help. Eventually, they will hire a strange old woman medium (Lin Shaye) and her two bumbling assistants (Whannell and Angus Sampson) to try and figure out what is wrong. Oh, and Barbara Hershey shows up as Patrick Wilson’s mother, which is never a good sign that someone has had a normal childhood.