I’d been looking forward to this one for awhile, so it was off to the theaters with me. I really enjoyed the first two installments, and really felt that James Wan had set up an interesting and engaging world in those films. I was interested to see what Leigh Whannell would do with the material. I’ve been a fan of the pair of them since they released Saw, so hopes were at least reasonably high. So, let’s get into it and talk Insidious: Chapter 3.
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.
This immediately struck me as a home-run, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and her intrepid band of ghost hunters Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) are easily the most entertaining and engaging characters in the franchise, and a little bit of their origin story was something I could get on board with. I think that the 3 of them have a pretty great chemistry and Lin Shaye is fucking dynamite on screen.
Unfortunately, the movie focuses primarily on the Brenner family. Primarily, Quinn (Stefanie Scott) and her perpetually stone-faced father Sean (Dermot Mulroney). The youngest Brenner, Alex (Tate Berney) is there too, but only to set up this family as being a (formerly) proper nuclear family dealing with the fallout of the passing of the home’s matriarch. He pops in a few times to be the “pesky younger brother” stock character but that’s really all he has to do. Scott is pretty bland and uninteresting as Quinn, her character YEARNS for acting school and her active attempts to contact her mother, even after being told not to by Shaye, get pretty tiresome. Mulroney is only half present for most of the movie, and together they made for a pretty lackluster bunch to spend time with.
Spend time with them we do, by the way. The origin tale of Elise and the gang is pushed to the background and the sidelines in favour of what’s happening with the Brenners. That being said, we do get some excellent and hugely satisfying scenes with those characters.
While the acting wasn’t dynamite, and the story had some pretty draggy, strange bits to it, the movie looks gorgeous. It’s dark, moody, and has a really oppressive tone to it. Whannell continues Wain’s tradition of building tension really effectively, and I found The Man Who Can’t Breathe genuinely frightening and menacing from his first appearance. The story that comes along with that particular character is definitely dark, and pretty disturbing. There are some great visuals too, like the half-absorbed Quinn for example and, for the most part, the scares are effective enough.
I enjoyed the movie in the end, though there is a particular scene involving TMWCB, the Black Bride, and Elise involving fist fighting and catch phrases that I could have done with WAY more of, sadly the scene is criminally short. Over all, if you’re a fan of the series it’s worth checking out. You won’t be disappointed, and you might even get a few good scares.