Evil spirits can't enliven this tired haunted-house thriller

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A family moves into a new house, but it seems to be possessed by a malevolent spirit or two. Then, the eldest son falls into a coma-like state. Moving to a different house doesn't help -- the ghost-like things follow them. The parents (Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson) call in the specialists, a medium (Lin Shaye) and two ghostbusters, to sort out what's happening. If you had an early bet on "demons loitering in the afterlife," you might be right. This creaky-floor, shadowy-figure-filled spook-fest is directed by James Wan, the man who gave us Saw, but rest assured, this is PG-13 and free of torture. On the downside, it doesn't have as interesting a premise: While the story makes a certain kind of sense (provided you believe in supernatural stuff), this is well-trod ground and fans of the genre won't get many surprises. It also has a low-lit, washed out look that didn't help bring the energy level up, nor does the awkward addition of some comic-relief characters. Starts Fri., April 1.


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