Insidious

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.

The Ten Scariest Movie Scenes of the Last Decade, From 'The Ring' to 'Paramormal Activity'

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.

The Complete Archive: Over 20 Years of Peter Travers' Movie Reviews Now Online