A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
If I’m honest, I’ve never really been a huge fan of the original two Insidious films. The first one, for a while is very good – but just goes too silly for me in the final 20 minutes of the film. The less said about chapter 2, the better. I think my issues are with the weird other-plane sequences.
Insidious: Chapter 3 marks the first that isn’t directed by James Wan, but the directorial debut of the writer of Insidious & SAW (among many other great titles), Leigh Whannell. In unusual fashion for a low-ish budget horror it’s been given the full blockbuster treatment with TV ads and a prime spot in the multiplex (we saw it in the 900 seater).
Unlike the second film which tried to shoehorn Lin Shaye in to keep her in the franchise, the third takes place as a prequel a few years before the events of the first Insidious. Shaye (as always) is a delight to watch as she throws herself into the role with great enthusiasm. Whannell has tried to add a rich backstory to the character, something surprisingly missing from the first two. While the backstory is a positive for Shaye, Specs and Tucker seem to become more one dimensional and inserted into the film as a small bit of comic relief.
The disappointment with Chapter 3 is the real lack of an attempt to create any atmosphere, the film relies heavily on jump scares and repeatedly trying to poke the audience. After a while the loud bangs and musical stings become very repetitive. That’s not to say I didn’t jump once or twice (I did). It’s just frustrating that by the third film all the hard work that was done with the first that at points managed to make my skin crawl has just fallen by the wayside.
For the first 2/3rds the film feels like it’s going to keep the other side as a situation for the Lamberts to find themselves in, and while I wasn’t finding myself engrossed in the film I was relived that they weren’t crossing and going silly over on the other side. Then the seance started and the old woman appeared.
Does this one like the previous two get a bit too stupid towards the end? yes. While it doesn’t go to the extreme of a demon on a grinding wheel listening to Tiny Tim, the end feels frustratingly contrived and sickeningly schmaltzy. While Chapter 3 isn’t as good as the first outing, it certainly clears the low bar set by Chapter 2. While I disliked the end and wrap up immensely it isn’t even the worst mainstream horror release in the last month. Cough cough poltergeist cough
I find the Insidious movies a funny franchise, they don’t grab me like Friday the 13th ever did nor do I get excited about the next instalment. I enjoyed the first movie and thought it was genuinely scary in places, was a little indifferent about the second one so there was mixed feelings about a third release. That said the trailer did look promising and I’ve not seen a decent mainstream horror for a while so one was due.
Insidious Chapter 3 nearly hits the mark with me, I like how it features a different family and the dynamics between the daughter and father was brilliant, in the absence of their deceased mother you could feel the tension and struggle in day to day family life. Taking out the irritating little brother would have been a bonus though and I think the man who cannot breathe mixed a trick by not bumping him off.
In this update of the franchise we drop back a few years as Quinn Brenner tries to communicate with her dead mother but by doing so brings back something much darker and nastier in the process. Seeking further help to open that communication she seeks out Elise Rainer who is very hesitant to help her at first. As the film progresses and evil things start to happen she gradually changes her mind to seek out what exactly it is that is haunting the Brenner family.
So what did I like about this movie? Well it did have some genuinely good scares and on a few times I left my seat or found myself hiding but it just didn’t feel great, like when you saw The Conjuring or Sinister or even the first one of these films. I enjoyed the family scenes and you could sense how the demonic entity prayed on their conflict for strength.
Where I struggled is this thing that these mo vies asks you to believe in; that of The Further. I just can’t see how it fits into these films. I love the idea of a horrible nasty demon haunting people; it doesn’t need to go any further. The cheese fest with Elise’s husband wasn’t needed and it got a huge groan from me when the dead mother came back at the end to save her daughter, it just felt too clichéd and really not needed.
Insidious Chapter 3 is like a movie of two halves, the first hour or so is fantastic and it’s where a good horror film could and should be in 2015. When it loses its way in The Further and drags out the clichés it ruined it for me. That isn’t enough to make it a bad movie by any means but it just ruins the greatness that went before it.
Worth a watch, one of the better releases of the year so far.!
Poltergeist is out on DVD and BluRay 12th October 2016