Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
  • Time: 97 min
  • Genre: Horror
  • Director: Leigh Whannell
  • Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Hayley Kiyoko, Lin Shaye, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson


After trying to connect with her dead mother, teenager Quinn Brenner, ask physic Elise Rainier to help her, she refuses due to negotiate events in her childhood. Quinn starts noticing paranormal events happen in her house. After a vicious attack from a demon her father goes back and begs Elise Rainier to use her abilities to contact the other side in hope to stop these attacks by this furious demon content for a body.


  • Sadly when it comes to prequels to famous movies, it is not the easiest to make this particular kind of entry the best it can be. That comes down to a big key point. The idea is that prequels cover the origins of initial franchise starters (most of which were praised critically and performed well at the box office). The problem with that is, most prequels only explain the backstory to what ended up happening in the first installment. It’s more or less only effective in its factual delivery in a historical context. This is good for some areas but not all. The other drawback is that prequels do not add anything new to mix in execution. A good example of this was The Thing (2011) prequel which had spot on explanations to what events lead to John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982), but the execution felt nearly identical.

    The same goes for the directorial debut of James Wan collaborator Leigh Whannell. It’s not that viewers will loathe Whannell’s work in this entry but unfortunately it lacks a lot of originality. This is also some of the errors many filmmakers have when they end up crediting themselves as actor/writer/director. It is a lot of work and perhaps Whannell didn’t have what it took to do all three tasks this time. The story is what unfortunately makes this prequel subpar. After a young girl named Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) tries to contact her mother who passed a year back, a demon hears her through the further realm and slowly begins latching onto her soul. As compared to the original, the story feels awfully similar. The only clear difference is that Brenner is not in astral form and can’t reach her physical body. The only writing Whannell incorporates that actually makes any connection to the original is how Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) meet up with Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), briefly referencing the Lambert Family and the crossdresser villain from Insidious (2010) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013).

    That’s the only part of the screenplay that actually works. For that, the fans can sit back and say “Ahhh ok, so that’s where that came from”. Anything dealing with the Brenner family feels almost non-important though. This is not to say they can’t act however, they just feel like they come secondary to everything else, which is sad to see. All actors involved perform decently at portraying the appropriate emotion for each scene. Stefanie Scott as Quinn and her father (Dermot Mulroney) feel believable in their roles but it is frustrating to see that a lot of the time daddy doesn’t believe her daughter (even though the situation would be difficult to understand). Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell maintain their chemistry from the first two films but they do come in rather late in the running time.

    Lin Shaye looked like she enjoyed her role again and even shows some unknown strength later on. The only character that isn’t very creative in personality is the ghoul who latches onto Quinn. Played by Michael Reid MacKay (who has also played other horror creatures), the demon he plays here is quite generic looking. The only thing that defines him are his bloody footprints (like the bloody handprint from the first movie) and making gurgley noises through a gas mask. Sure it’s creepy, but as the main villain….not exactly memorable. Actually, from what the ending of Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) gave, it seemed as if this movie would be the prequel about the ghoul that Elise saw behind the girl in the wheelchair. Guess not.

    Even with this cliched character however, there are a number of effective jump scares and some cringe worthy gross scenes. As cliche as the jump scares are, Whannell at least was able to throw in some tricks here and there, which would have audiences believe the scene is prepping for a jump scare when in fact it’s happening at a different time. As long as that works, that means something’s working on the scare factor. The cinematography on the other hand was rather a disappointment. Shot by Brian Pearson (best known for Final Destination 5 (2011)), his view of the further is just as clean cut like the other films but sadly the further is barely used in this movie until the final act. The whole point of the Insidious (2010) franchise is going into the further realm and this entry doesn’t do enough of that. The only other good element to the film is composer Joseph Bishara’s film score. Unlike the last two scores which entailed more screeching and whispering violins, this time Bishara actually uses more soft emotional tunes. It’s different because normally Bishara doesn’t compose tracks like these in such volume. However, this shows Bishara has the talent to produce some really beautiful music when required.

    It still has its moments of being creepy, the backstory to all the original characters are nicely explored and Bishara’s film score impresses a little more than usual. Even with that said however, the main plot isn’t much of anything new, the further realm is not really existent in the running time and the villain is far from memorable.

    Points Earned –> 4:10

  • Quickie Review:

    After the death of her mother Quinn (Stefanie Scott) tries to contact her through a retired gifted psychic Elise (Lin Shaye). Unknowingly Quinn attracts the attention of an evil spirit that begins to threaten her life. Reluctantly Elise must use her gift to save the girl’s and her family’s life. Insidious 3 is a prequel to the first two films and fits perfectly into the mythology of the franchise. There is a new menacing threat that brings a lot of terrifying moments. Though the horror aspect is well-made, this movie is not wholly dependent on the scares and tells a compelling sentimental story. Insidious is a must for the fans, while also a great entry for those who haven’t seen the previous films of the franchise.

    Full Review:

    I really enjoyed the first two movies. They were a great homage to the 80’s style horror by the master of modern day horror, director James Wan. I was cautiously optimistic because Wan was not returning to helm the movie and first time director Leigh Whannell took on the task. Thankfully he seemed to have taken notes because he has achieved in making another solid entry to the franchise.

    Insidious 3 does refer to the past films but for all intents and purposes, this is a standalone prequel. I love that about the movie, because it had the freedom to explore new ideas and expand on the mythology already set. There is a new evil demon haunting our main character and he frankly creeped me the hell out. A lot of credit has to be given to the cinematography of the movie because it limits what we get to see. This is added suspense to the scenes, making the slow horror more intense. Another praise I must give Insidious 3 and the franchise as a whole is that the movie never treats the characters as idiot screaming machines. I actually cared for the well-being of the characters because of their genuine reactions to what was happening around them. There are no fake scares here, when they are scared, you should be too. Also I liked that the movie developed Lin Shaye’s character Elise. She was always a supporting character but here she is very much in the forefront, and enjoyed watching her transformation during the movie.

    Where I see the movie could have improved is the significance of the new menace. In the previous films the evil spirits had clear intent, directed towards specific characters. Whereas in this film the haunting feels like a chance occurrence. That directed intent is what made the spirits so insidious. The choice to make a very generic goal for the demon did not fit with what we have come to learn from this mythology. So I would’ve like to have understand more of the motive for the haunting.

    For the fans of the movies especially, I highly recommend this film. If you haven’t seen the old films I still suggest you watch them before Insidious 3 because you will then catch the references that might make for a better experience. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable movie for all horror fans. I hope they stop the movies so we have a solid trilogy of horror films to watch on Halloween!

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