Initially unsettling and then increasingly ridiculous, Insidious follows a well-worn template while attempting to maximize the benefits of jump scares. Saw masterminds James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s tale concentrates on the seemingly happy Lambert family, who move into a new suburban house and promptly begin noticing strange occurrences explainable only by supernatural means, be it boxes that mysteriously relocate to the attic or strange whisperings heard on the baby monitor. It’s a Paranormal Activity set-up that Wan drenches in a superb early mood of ethereal dread, his ashen color palette and gliding cinematography amplifying the impact of his opening loud-noise jolts. Once oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) inexplicably falls into a pseudo-coma, songwriter mom Renai (Rose Byrne) valiantly attempts to make sense of her bizarre circumstances and her schoolteacher husband Josh (Patrick Wilson) flees tragedy by staying late at work, while Whannell’s script adds subtle hints about the true nature of these malevolent goings-on and their relationship to the Lamberts. Alas, just as Insidious’s attempts to rattle via sudden soundtrack cues eventually exhaust their effectiveness, so too does the film’s story lose its eeriness once a medium (Lin Shaye) arrives with a Poltergeist-ish “astral projection” explanation that’s not only laughable, but – because it reveals some of the characters to themselves be supernaturally inclined, rather than merely ordinary everypeople – squanders the reality-invaded-by-unreality dynamic upon which its story’s terror was predicated. By the time the absurdly deflating finale rolls around, Wan has managed to not only botch his own film, but sully the one cool element of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace as well.