Insidious Chapter 3 Review
Receiving such a strong horror series is hard to come by these days, especially with the new obsession with found footage. But "Insidious" is special. It tries to depart from the rest of the herd. It depends on mood and atmosphere over blood and guts. Its monsters have some of the most grotesquely satisfying make-up I have seen in a long time. Plus, its got a premise that just plain works in the genre. Its no surprise that this series really went off and running over the last five years.
By the time any series, horror or not, reaches film number three, things start to get tricky. Its hard to rely on more of the same, because the audience has already got used to it with the previous installments. Its hard not to double back on circular plots, and its equally hard to not drivel in cliche. I feel "Insidious Chapter 3" is valiant effort. It keeps up the dark moods and atmosphere's and never turns into torture porn. I love that screeching score the film possesses and it gets me giddy for each new adventure, and this time, it was no different. However, "Insidious Chapter 3" covers familiar ground and is the most unexciting of the three movies. I mean, come on, even "Paranormal Activity 3" kept up its mythology, "Insidious Chapter 3" is merely more of the same.
First off, I don't know why this movie is called "Insidious Chapter 3." This is not a continuation of the first two films, this is a prequel. We find out how Elise (Lin Shaye) discovered that she wanted to use her astral projection gifts to help people with paranormal problems. We find out how Elise met Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) and become this paranormal trio. I think making prequels is a major risk, because they are such a wet blanket. We know absolutely nothing terrible or Earth-shattering can happen to Elise, Specs and Tucker because we already know they will go on at least two adventures in the future. So why flirt with the idea of them coming to harm? Most importantly, why start at the very beginning? Hey, several people may have wanted to see Anakin face off against Obi-Wan, and perhaps several people did want to see the Jedi fall and the Empire rise. Yet, that doesn't mean prequels are a unique and fascinating way to push a story forward.
The rest of the movie spends too much time in the familiar. A teenage girl named Quinn (Stefani Scott) is at a crossroads in her life when her mom passes away. Suddenly, she gets a sneaking suspicion that her late mother is trying to contact her, so Quinn enlists the help of Elise in order to contact her in the spirit world. This doesn't go so well, as we know if you are contacting the spirit world, ALL spirits can hear you. This triggers an event in which Quinn is haunted by a demonic entity. The thing is, its the most basic haunting for this type of movie. Quinn sees figures in the shadows, appliances turn on by themselves, etc. These are all happenings we have come to expect in this type of movie, and the hauntings aren't illuminated in any cool way. So nothing is ever threatening or frightening. For the first time in the series, "Insidious Chapter 3" has treaded water.
I think Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson do good work here, and I think they really could have been apart of something special had this movie gone in a different direction. I also have to give Leigh Whannell props for stepping into the director's chair as well. There is so much of this movie that freaky and bizarre that you can feel a great horror movie slipping away from him. Stefanie Scott does an okay job, but I feel its a job several actresses her age could do. Quinn as a character is pretty one-dimensional, and she never tries to etch in any details. So is her protective, overworked father played by Dermot Mulroney, Dermot is a talented guy, but the script handcuffs him to several dull clichés.
I think fans of the series so far will be impressed with the dark craft Whannell used to bring this third entry to life. It is definitely creepy and edgy all the way through and shall please the horror crowd. But anybody wanting something new or an expansion of the story before will be bitterly disappointed. Anybody who detests even the slightest mention of a prequel will run for the hills. This isn't exactly what you think it is, and that is both good and bad.
FINAL GRADE: C