Starring Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Hayley Kiyoko, Tom Gallop. Directed by Leigh Whannell. (2015, 97 min). SONY
Not being a particularly big fan of prequels, I was somewhat dubious upon hearing Insidious: Chapter 3 would be an origin story. To me, the practice is generally a sign the creative well is running dry, particularly in the horror genre. At the same time, there's always been a soft spot in my heart for the Insidious franchise (even though Chapter 2 was pretty dull), because the original film is what made my youngest daughter fall in love with horror films, just like Jaws did when I was a her age. So of course, we were both totally onboard for a third go-round.
The good news is Chapter 3 is a lot better than Chapter 2, which was an anemic and unnecessary attempt to expand the story of the first film. This one takes place a few years earlier, with psychic Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) reluctantly coming to the aid of a teenage girl, Quinn (Stefanie Scott), whose mother recently passed away and is now tormented by a vengeful demon in the apartment building where she lives.
Directed this time by Leigh Whannell (who wrote the first two films), Chapter 3 a nice return to the atmospheric dread and well-timed jump scares which made the first movie so much creepy fun. Part of that is because it's a new story, but also because the characters are well developed.
It was a smart play by Whannell to make Elise's character only part of the story, not the main focus. Since longtime fans already know her fate, we need more at stake for any kind of prequel to work. Not only do we learn much more about Elise (dealing with her own tragic past), but Quinn and her father (Dermot Mulroney) aren't just a couple of rubes whose home needs cleansing. Both are dealing with tragic loss as well, which ultimately gives the climax of this film a surprising amount of emotional power.
Insidious: Chapter 3 is not as scary as the original, but a huge improvement over the first sequel, with enough jump scares, disturbing scenes and creepy moments to make it worth checking out. If you absolutely have to make a prequel, this is the way to do it.
- FEATURETTES: "Origin Story: Making Insidious 3" (an enjoyable look behind-the-scenes); "Macabre Creations" (make-up effects); "Stunts: The Car Crash"; "Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks" (meh)
- Deleted Scenes
- Digital Copy