Jump Scares

Boiling Point

Halloween is nearly upon us and for once I’m not railing against the studio system for a lack of horror in theaters. It seems five years of complaining has finally gotten through to them. Just kidding, they don’t listen to me. But October has been a pretty good year for horror in terms of movies actually being in theaters. In wide release this month we’ll have Sinister, Paranormal Activity 4, and Silent Hill: Revelation. Throw in a couple of limited release titles and this feels like at least quadruple the amount of horror films we normally get. And even if you longed for more horror, you’d only have to turn on the TV. Switch the set on, and it’s more horrific than ever! The Walking Dead! American Horror Story: Asylum! AMC’s programming of monster movies! Well heck, what possibly could I be mad at with this quantity? Why, quality, of course.

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When Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a new house with their three children, they see it as an opportunity for the life they always wanted. Renai can get back to writing music and be a full-time mom for her family, and the kids have all the space they could ever want. Unfortunately some of that space appears to be occupied by malevolent ghosts. What do they want? How can this family rid themselves of their worst nightmare? Why does that ghost look like Darth Maul? On the one hand, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan have given us a solid film with some remarkably unsettling imagery sure to haunt the nightmares of even the most jaded horrorphiles. On the flip side, they have given us one of the loudest, most obnoxiously lazy horror films in years. This paradox eats at me as I desperately wanted to like Insidious and frankly the potential it displays alludes to a film that could have easily made my list of favorites of the year. Sadly, that potential is squandered in cheap thrills and hackneyed conventions.

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