Setting up the scare...

I've got to put this out there because it seems to be the biggest mistake I see in most movies... and I'm starting to see it in writing (even my own).

The key to scaring an audience, or making them laugh, or even cry is simple: they have to be invested.
Cookie cutter characters may be attractive, or funny or even make you cheer when they die...they're also forgettable and won't set the piece apart from the thousands of others that are just like it.
But!!! if you make the character whole, someone the audience can identify with, then the shocks, scares and terror sinks in and holds on after the show is over.

I'm worried about this movie "Insidious" which looks great in the preview and involves haunting a child--something that always adds a new layer of creepy... but I fear two things, 1. it's going to drop me in the middle without letting me meet this kid or the kid will have been weird and alien since birth or 2. the PG-13 rating will water it down.

Thoughts? Anyone... what else helps the scare along?

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