"You may be a superhero, buddy, but you're not invincible."
Insidious began with a lot of promise and several scares, but midway through the film it began to lose its appeal and it went downhill from there. James Wan's The Conjuring was one of the best horror films I've seen this decade and I can see how certain elements from this movie (especially the first half involving the haunted house elements) were perfected and used with greater effect there. Wan knows how to scare audiences creating an eerie atmosphere and uses the camera effectively. Despite the interesting premise, I did have some issues with the characters which wasn't a problem for me in The Conjuring. Patrick Wilson was great in that film, but here I felt he had very little chemistry with Rose Byrne. There is one scene where the alarm goes off and he finds the door from the main entrance wide open. He closes the door and sets the alarm on again only to hear it go off a few seconds later and find the door open again. Despite everything that is going on in the house he still doesn't believe his wife and thinks she's overreacting. Even if he didn't believe the ghost story then at least he should've called the police because someone is forcing the door open and sounding off the alarm. I just found it hard to believe he would go back to sleep after that. The characters weren't developed very well, but the scares still worked during the first half of the film. Unfortunately the second half doesn't live up to the standards set during the first half. The final act instead of being scary ends up being laughable, and it is a problem I find with most horror movies nowadays which don't know how to connect the gran finale with the suspense and the tension they've been building.
Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) have recently moved in to their new home along with their two boys Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and Foster (Andrew Astor), and their baby daughter. Strange things begin to occur in the house, and one afternoon Dalton suffers an accident in the attic. He seems to be fine, but when Josh goes to wake him up the next morning he doesn't awake. The doctors can't explain why, but somehow he seems to be in a coma. They decide to bring Dalton back home as he remains in coma and strange things continue to happen. Renai begins hearing voices through the baby monitor and finding blood stains in Dalton's sheets. She begins seeing strange presences and her son Foster claims to be hearing Dalton walking through the hallway at night. Convinced the house is haunted, Renai asks Josh to move again and so they do. At their new home strange things continue to happen, so Josh's mom, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) decides to intervene. She had a similar experience with her son Josh when he was younger and gets a group of paranormal investigators led by Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) to come intervene. That is when things begin to get a little freakier.
One of the major problems with this film is that screenwriter Leigh Whannell (who worked previously with Wan in Saw and Dead Silence) by trying to stay away from the cliches of the genre takes us to unexpected places during the second half of the film. For instance, he thought it would be great if the family left the haunted house instead of staying there like in other horror films.This should've been a good thing, but Wan was creating such an eerie atmosphere with the classic haunted house formula that somehow it backfired here. The creepy moments that were beginning to scare me completely abandoned me when we got to the new home and the paranormal investigative team began their astral projection talk. This really took me out of the movie and truly disappointed me. The scares were gone and everything became sort of laughable. I think the reason why I really loved The Conjuring is because Wan went back to the classic formula and stuck to the haunted house elements which were working so well for him during the first half of Insidious. I don't think this is a terrible film, but the ending was so disappointing I don't really feel like watching the second film.