Insidious Movie Poster Image


Exceptionally scary flick is too intense for younger teens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's a fair bit of conflict -- characters argue a great deal and are unable to agree on much. The wife wants a supernatural solution, and the more practical husband won't allow it. The problem is solved, but not entirely solved.

Positive role models

Though these people are all nice enough, they're not much in the way of role models. The wife spends the film being scared, and the husband is vain and argues and hides from his responsibilities for much of the movie. Though he eventually shows bravery, it may be too late.


The movie isn't violent in a gory way, though viewers do see some bloody handprints and some intense fighting; there are loud, scary noises on the soundtrack; and a young boy is in jeopardy throughout. But while it isn't graphic, the movie is very frightening, with lots of creepy, half-glimpsed figures and a scary alternate universe in which everything is dark and anything could be hiding anywhere.

Not applicable

Language isn't constant but includes one "f--k," plus "hell," "bitch," "oh my God," "goddamn," and "whore."


One main character uses an Apple laptop.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this horror movie is rated PG-13, it's one of the most terrifying scary movies in some time, and it's not recommended for younger teens (or anyone without a high tolerance for "jump" scenes). There's some blood, as well as some arguing and yelling, and a young boy is in jeopardy throughout the movie (he's separated from his parents, which may add to the anxiety for some kids -- even teens). But most of the horror is in the form of the stuff that nightmares are made of: darkness, shadows, and noises. It's very scary. Language is fairly light but does include one use of "f--k"; there's no sex, drugs, or drinking content of note.

What's the story?

The Lambert family settles into their new house, only to find that weird things are happening. Books and boxes move around, and there are weird noises coming from the attic. Before long, son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) falls into a mysterious coma, and mom Renai (Rose Byrne) starts seeing things. Dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) agrees to move them out of the seemingly haunted house, but the strange events continue. When Josh's mother (Barbara Hershey) hires a medium (Lin Shaye) to help, the medium explains that it was never the house that was haunted: It was Dalton! Now someone must make a dangerous, terrifying trip into The Further to try to rescue him ... if it's not too late.

Is it any good?


INSIDIOUS is director James Wan and writer/actor Leigh Whannell's third project together (after their hit Saw and its dull follow-up Dead Silence) and it's their best and most frightening film yet. Essentially, it's a retread of Poltergeist, about a haunted house that more or less "kidnaps" a child, but it has its own unique spin. It's an old tale told in a new way.

Surprisingly, after the ultra-gory Saw movies, Wan and Whannell choose here to go the old-fashioned route and rely on half-glimpsed images, darkness, shadows, and noises for their scares -- which are really more effective, anyway. And the characters are flawed in a deliberate and interesting way, resulting in some good performances. Hershey and Shaye especially get in some interesting moments.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence and terror. How did it affect you?

  • How scary is the movie? What makes it different from, and scarier than, other horror movies? Is it scarier given the fact that a young boy is in trouble?

  • Are these characters likable? Why do you think they act the way they do? Are they role models?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 1, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date:July 12, 2011
Cast:Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
Director:James Wan
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language

This review of Insidious was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 2 year old Written bythesavants08 April 7, 2011

Greatest horror film in years! Not for kids under 16!

I as an adult found this movie to be an amazing horror film. There is no way I would let my kids see it! There is some brief language, no alcohol, no violence, no drugs, no sexual content, and a good bit of parental arguing. However that's not the main issue with this movie. This movie goes deep into the supernatural realm. You see a boy put into a coma, a family being 'haunted', many sadistic spirits, and a psychic. BUT still the main issue is the demonic side of this movie. There is a very frightening demon after their child that would give anyone nightmares! Just not a good movie for any kids under 16.
Kid, 12 years old April 22, 2011
Love it. I would say too scary for children -13. May give nightmares. suprisingly only 1 person died.
Parent of a 9, 11, and 14 year old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 16, 2011

Perfect for tweens, teens(young and old), and adults!

I loved it. One of my 6th grade students saw it over break with her friends, and she told me how great it was. That inspired me to go see it and i am so glad I did. However the lanquage was not the best, but my rule for my kids is that it is okay if they hear a bad word as long as they know that it is not okay to use themselfs.
What other families should know
Too much swearing