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Insidious

Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson

Directed by James Wan
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2.5
Community: star rating
5 2.5 0
March 31, 2011

Here's a better-than-average spook house movie, mostly because Insidious decides it can haunt an audience without spraying it with blood. This is major since director James Wan is the artery sprayer who gave us the first slice of the Saw series.  The plot is yet another succubus feeding off The Amityville Horror and Paranormal Activity with teacher dad (Patrick Wilson) and songwriter mom (Rose Byrne) moving into an old house with their two young sons and a new baby. That's when things start to go bump in the night and one son (Ty Simpkins) falls into a coma.

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The reasons you won't slip into a snooze is that Wilson and Byrne play it for real and Wan and witty screenwriter Leigh Whannell work you over like pros. In a multiplex ready to sucker punch us with wimpy kids and animated swill about Easter bunnies that hop-hop-hop, Insidious thinks we'll be better served by a scare flick that can fry nerves and tickle funnybones in high style. I sure was.

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    Song Stories

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    A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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