Insidious: Chapter 3 – 2015
Writer and Director Leigh Whannell
Starring Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Whannell, Hayley Kiyoko, Tate Berney, Michael Reid MacKay, Tom Gallup
So I love ghost stories. I just do. And as many times as I have seen films that just don’t do it, I keep going back. Insidious Chapter 3 is a tepid tale designed to fit right into the PG-13 slot. It’s nothing really special, even if it is good enough to give one a few minor scares and a knowing nod at the absurd prolonging of a character (Elise, played by Shaye) who they foolishly killed off in the first one. The first sequel found a pretty cool way to keep her in the picture, giving her ground to cover from the after life.
They didn’t want to mine that resource yet again, so instead we get a prequel happening an indeterminate amount of time before the events of the first 2 parts (not counting the brilliant 1986 flashback). A girl named Quinn (Scott, in a role that does her credit) seeks out the help of Elise in speaking to her deceased mother. After explaining that she recently retired from the séance business (we find out later), Elise gives it a shot, but shuts down soon into the effort. Dejected but not deterred, Quinn resumes her life and efforts to communicate with her mother, unheeding of Elise’s dire warning to not try this by herself at home.
Soon enough we get a glimpse of what is communicating with Quinn. It isn’t her mother. It is yet another demonic force that is trying to collect Quinn’s unsuspecting innocence in to its apartment building of horrors. While Elise ponders her navel and frets over her recent losses, she gets a whiff, Jedi-style, of Quinn’s pending misfortune. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dad doesn’t waste unnecessary time wondering if her daughter is imagining things. That’s one cliché avoided. Hooray for our side.
As things get rolling, the film loses steam. There’s only so much one can do in a prequel. For those who enjoy Shaye having her own franchise, she has some nice moments. It’s easy to see there being more films taking place before the events of the first installment. It would be even more interesting if they involve Quinn. It’s hard to imagine this series rising to new heights with the box they’ve built for themselves. Once they break that box, all hell could break loose too.
(*** out of *****)