Leigh Whannell makes his feature film debut (surprising it has taken this long) with the third chapter of Insidious, a franchise he himself helped create alongside James Wan. With the fantastically creepy world of the further at his fingertips, Whannell takes the newest chapter into prequel territory, revealing how gifted psychic Elise Rainier gets back into the supernatural business when a teenage girl caught in the grasp of a dark entity asks for her help.
As a fan of the first two films (their warts and all), I really wanted to like Insidious: Chapter 3, especially with Whannell at the helm. What made the first film stand on its own was the introduction of “the further”, a world far beyond our own where the tortured souls of the dead lurk in the shadows. It’s a terrifying concept that the second film failed to capitalize on, and it’s unfortunately yet another huge mistake that Insidious: Chapter 3 makes. Rather than explore its own mythology and dig deeper into the dark realm of “the further”, Insidious: Chapter 3 becomes more of a cliched haunted house movie with countless jump scares.
Whannell has a great eye for horror and certainly knows how to pour on the creep factor, but it almost felt like the film was so worried about scaring the audience that it forgot to do everything else, like tell a good story—and worst of all, it wasn’t nearly as scary as it thought it was, and a lot of that had to do with its overuse of jump scares that ruined every ounce of tension being created throughout the film. In the end, there are some truly haunting moments in the movie that are completely wasted by predictable PG-13 scares. Bummer.
I really don’t have much to say about this movie, honestly. I think that if you really, really dig the first two films that you should give it a shot because it does offer some interesting insight into Lin Shaye’s great character Elise Rainier and how she meets up with ghost hunting tandem Tucker and Specs. Their chemistry is great and offer some fun, light-hearted moments in the movie.
My review may be somewhat harsh, but the truth is this is a big step backwards from what the first two chapters of Insidious created. We still don’t know much about the further, it’s only more of the same—a dark and foggy realm made up of creepy ghosts who smile way too much. I think Whannell was onto something here, and I still like that he went the prequel route, but it’s ultimately a missed opportunity that tells us nothing new.
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