Everything about the first two Insidious movies I loved, for a big-budget, PG-13, Hollywood horror franchise. They had good acting and although the stories was basically just a generic, Poltergeist-style haunting, I thought they brought something fresh to the genre, and had a general eerie feel about them. Something just a little dark, but flashy. Take those feelings and throw them right out the window for Insidious: Chapter 3, as it’s nothing at all like its predecessors.
In the Insidious world, this film is a prequel to the others, focusing on a separate haunting story than that of the Lambert family, which is the plot of the first two films. In this one, a young girl, Quinn (Stefanie Scott, Wreck It Ralph) is haunted by a malevolent spirit after trying to contact her recently deceased mother. Seeking the help of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye, reprising her role from the previous Insidious films), this prequel actually tells the tale of how Elise rolls back into the world of the Medium, and also how she is introduced to her team of Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specks (Leigh Whannell).
Whannell (Saw, Insidious) takes the helm of his first movie with I:C3, and it sadly shows that he’s never been behind the camera before. Known for his writing on movies like Saw, and his acting in both Saw and the previous Insidious films, Whannell is no stranger to the horror genre, but apparently as a director, he has forgotten completely what might scare anyone. Relying solely on the super-predictable jump scare, all the dread and horror, all the real feeling that was so well-developed in the first two films is gone, and all we’re left with is a boring, “talking” horror film. More things happen in discussion than actually happen on-screen.
With the exception of Shaye, the acting in this film comes across as real bottom of the barrel. This is Scott’s first major role, and the only time she shines is when she has become partially possessed, and lets her father know how horrible he really is. Of course, she’s talking about his parenting skills, not his acting, which is what she really should have laid into him about. Dermot Mulroney brings absolutely nothing to the role of Quinn’s father, Sean, and basically is just another set piece that seems to have zero emotion about anything his daughter is experiencing. His character is apparently so vapid, he’s lost by all his daughter’s “technical jargon” when she mentions she’s blogging about her breakfast.
If you’re a completest like me, or a massive horror fan, you’ll need to see this installment, but when it comes to Insidious: Chapter 3, skip the nighttime shows (that will no doubt be crawling with teenagers anyway), and save yourself a few bucks – see a matinée or wait until DVD.