Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) / Horror
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements
Running Time: 97 min.
Cast: Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Tate Berney, Michael Reid MacKay
Small role: James Wan
Director: Leigh Whannell
Screenplay: Leigh Whannell
Review published June 7, 2015
Stefanie Scott (Wreck-It Ralph, No Strings Attached) plays Quinn Brenner, lamenting the loss of her deceased mother, with whom she has been trying to communicate, leading her to seek out noted psychic Elise Rainier (Shaye, Ouija) who has given up the practice due to bad experiences when dealing with some of the nasties she encounters speaking to "the other side", resulting in one that is also haunting her world. Quinn pays little heed to Elise's instruction to stop trying to connect to mom for fear she'll channel something evil into the world, resulting in just that, and now Quinn is in mortal jeopardy, as spirits begin their quest to drag her into "the Further". Quinn's father Sean (Mulroney, The D Train) has no where to go but to plead with Elise to help Quinn out before she's lost forever.
Leigh Whannell, who has scripted all three of the Insidious films, and has appeared in a supporting role as a ghost hunter named Specs, gets his first chance to sit in the director's chair, to mixed results. James Wan, who directed the first two entries, takes a producer role, and a bit part as a theater director, as he had been tied up in directing Furious 7, but surely has rubbed off quite a bit on his longtime collaborator, as this feels right in line with the other films in terms of its use of light and shadow to draw out PG-13 jump scares.
Although it is called Insidious: Chapter 3, it's actually a prequel, set before the Lambert family events of Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, and serving as an origin story of sorts to the trio of spook channelers we see in those films. As Shaye is the best of parts one and two, giving her more screen time does result in a more interesting effort, and I'll probably be one of the few critics to state that this less annoying than the other two, though I do think all three stink. It's merely more tolerable, but it is also mind-crushingly boring as well, and not the least bit scary.
Scott is fine as the main girl possessed, though we've seen it all before. Mulroney, perhaps the biggest name attached to the project, doesn't really get to do a whole lot, and his role is only written as someone who helps push the plot along, so not much to grab on to. Insidious 3's main issue is that it's just far too generic to hold the interest of anyone who has seen one or two horror films in their lifetime, mostly existing to continue a franchise for Blum House productions to make quite a bit of money off of. Until they manage to come up with a story that's more than just set-ups to screeching music and jump-scares in front of flashlights and lanterns every eight minutes, the bad reviews for the Insidious films are likely to continue, no matter how much they jump back and forth in the overall story continuity.
©2015 Vince Leo