INSIDIOUS (James Wan)
Supernatural horror movies rely on three things: makeup, music and sound, and production design. Let's include cinematography under production design this instance, because I believe no matter how artsy your shots are, it will not work if your setup is shit.
There are a few movies who effectively created a scary atmosphere by mastering these three elements. THE EXORCIST, THE SHINING, POLTERGEIST, SHUTTER (the Thai one). All others seem to fade into the background, and let me tell you there are a million horror films out there.
Take INSIDIOUS for example. James Wan (SAW) took an hour before bringing in the big guns, or scares if you will. It was worth the wait. The secret was well-kept until the climax, and though the twist wasn't entirely original (I'm talking about the ending) it was more than welcome.
Wan combined a simple story told intricately with effective lighting. For me the lighting is the star of the show. The lights are where they ought to be. All of the time I was figuring out where to look. Where will the creeps come out? What lurks in those dark corners? These indicate a successful mood setting.
INSIDIOUS concerns a couple who finds their family tormented by supernatural occurrences, finding out that their house is not the one that's haunted, but rather their son.
James Wan should direct more. The first SAW film is by far the best of the franchise, and now this. Wan knows how to put up a good scare and not insult our intelligence.