Plot: Insidious Chapter 3 is a supernatural horror film, the prequel to the first two. A young woman (Quinn Brenner) comes to medium Elise Rainier to speak to her deceased mother, but something else has heard her calling. AWWW YEAH!
Cast/Crew: Written and directed by Leigh Whannell (in his directorial debut), who wrote the early SAW films with James Wan. He also reprises his role as the quirky ‘ghosthunter’ Specs. Also returning is Lin Shaye as Elise the medium. She also played the sister/daughter of the ghost in Ouija (coming next!) so it was fun to see her again. Stefanie Scott is the pivotal character, Quinn.
Thoughts on the film:
• I’m a big fan of the gimmick of this series – where a medium uses ‘Astral Projection’ to go into “the Further”, which is a half-way house between this world and the next.
• However I’m not a fan of startling/loud strings to compensate for lack of actual scares. This isn’t new to the series: Tons of shock horror – like a demon grabbing your hand; massive spike in volume and tense strings. It’s intentional and cheap, and grating. It’s a shame as there’s some good anticipation in parts but you know it’s just gonna be a BOO! scare, which isn’t the same as something actually scary. Whannel does a lot right, so it’s sad to see him fall at this important hurdle.
• Poor Quinn. Calling out to her mom and jeez, some awful demon’s latched on to her! It’s known as “The Man Who Can’t Breathe” and has a cool look; a demonised decrepit patient with an oxygen mask.
• The film follows the day/night cycle of the haunting increasing in proximity – it rings a bell (but it’s shown as not moving – great) and visibly shows itself later on. It turns violent, but as opposed to Paranormal Activity where we don’t really get to see the haunting; this series goes much further (pun actually unintended), in that the medium actually goes looking in the Further for the ghost/to retrieve a spirit.
• Quinn’s friend insults her saying “save the word “literal” for when you’re actually literal.” Ha! YES! OOC would love her. She seems to be her only friend – nobody else visits Quinn that’s around her age after the opening ten minutes.
• It’s set a few years ago so she uses an older phone. We also get to see the “Spectral Sightings” website, with a nice Matrix background, which is very accurate for 2003 or so. (Fun note, Whannel appeared in a small role in Matrix 2)
• I appreciated how they actually show you a physical manifestation of half of Quinn’s soul being taken by the demon (which is a crawling amputee with no eyes or mouth, like something out of Silent Hill)
• They indirectly answer some simple questions early on, thank you: Why don’t you just leave, and why press the issue? In a wheelchair means she’s sequestered in the house, also the demon has attached itself to her (running wouldn’t do any good – although the house has special significance), and Quinn initially continues on because she wants to talk to her dead mother/believes it is her.
• My favourite part of the film, great dread & anticipation where the demon shows itself to Quinn in her room, throws her out of bed, slowly closing the curtains, the door, and even her laptop to plunge the room into complete darkness. Great.
• Love the gimmick of the demon leaving thick, viscous, black, oily footprints on the floor (and wall), so people can slowly track where the demon has been walking.
• Elise (the medium) gives us a nice bit of Insidious lore, that the Bride in Black (synonymous with the franchise) came back with her when she traveled to the Further, when she tried to say goodbye to her husband. This pops up again later as a quick plot point, which tied in nicely.
• There’s a bit of MIIIIIIIIIIIIIND GAMES! Where the demon can physically move you AND cause you hallucinations. Great horror fodder.
• Astral Projection (going into ‘the Further’) is a brilliant gimmick! I’ve mentioned it before but yes. It’s shown as the same house but emptied; blackened and dimly lit (as if the house was transported into nothingness) – lots of fog covering the floors, and lit by hand-lanterns. Looks great AND cheap to film too!
• The bumbling Ghosthunter/frauds Specs and Tucker from “Spectral Sightings” make a return in this film, adding some fun comic relief, until it’s time to get serious and confront the demon(s) in the final act. Used perfectly here, better than in Insidious 2 (or maybe I’m used to their appearances now.)
• Elise has the big story arc this time; she very reluctantly helps Quinn, and is terrified of the Bride in Black (who keeps saying she will murder her); and is initially shown as weak, frightened, running away from the demon. Through the course of the film she becomes much more assertive, confident with self-belief. She actually physically attacks the ghost, running and pushing it, which is supposed to be this big empowering thing BUT IT’S HILARIOUS – it’s an old woman running and shoving a guy in prosthetics – it’d get big laughs in the cinema!
Overall: I’m a fan of the series, the gimmicks and feel of it, so it’s an enjoyable watch. However the same problem plaguing the first two plague the third – the cheap and grating shock-horror sudden loud strings hurt it’s credibility, as there’s some genuinely chilling moments and cool sequences. Thankfully “the man who can’t breathe” has a much better look and is a big improvement from the Darth Maul reject the series is known for. I enjoyed the film but since it’s shock-horror I can’t recommend, however it’s decent, lots of positives and better than most horror films I review.
If you watched the film, lemme know what you thought! Next film is OUIJA (like Luigi without the L!)
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