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Review: Insidious: Chapter 3

Lin Shaye stars in Focus Features' "Insidious: Chapter 3"

In order to keep the wheels moving forward, the creators of the Insidious franchise felt that it was best to take things backwards by making the third film a prequel. Because of this, don’t expect the Lamberts to be the family being tormented by demons this time around. Insidious: Chapter 3 is focused on a new family reaching out to a familiar face for help as audiences learn how it all started.

Written and directed by co-creator Leigh Whannell, Insidious: Chapter 3 kicks off with the young Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) making her way to the home of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), a gifted psychic who’s reluctant to use her powers. The aspiring actress meets the medium in order to get into contact with the other side. Her reason for wanting to do this is because she believes that her late mother is trying to connect with her from beyond.

While hesitant to help the young lady, Elise edges closer and closer to the situation, and soon discovers that there is imminent danger knocking at the door of the Brenner household. Elise doesn’t want to travel to the dark side, but she may have to as she battles her fears, attempts to rediscover her sense of purpose and face off with a supernatural entity who seems destined to cause trouble for some living souls all the way from the realm of the dead.

Insidious: Chapter 3 isn’t the kind of film people go to see when looking for compelling stories and proper character development. However, many of us would still hope for something deeper than what we actually receive. On at least a couple of occasions, I found myself wondering where the story line was. The truth is much of it was filled with empty space and nothing more.

As far as the characters are concerned, we don’t really get a whole lot from them either. We find out why the young woman goes out of her way to meet Elise Rainier, but we never get to properly see her or her father as actual people. When looking at Lin Shaye’s role, she’s essentially the same person from the previous films, but she’s not that confident and is being introduced to some of the facets that she’s more the comfortable with in previous films.

Aside from money, I guess the purpose of Insidious: Chapter 3 existing is to establish the origins of Lin Shaye’s Elise Rainier as she uncovers the realm known as The Further. While she’s not one of the protagonists in either of the first two Insidious features, she obviously plays a pivotal role and is an easy way to keep the franchise going without keeping the same leads for multiple movies if they choose change things up at certain points. This is actually intelligent since it can theoretically allow for more variety in a plethora of ways.

While Insidious: Chapter 3 is short on story and character development, it turns out to be quite long on jump scares. Through large chunks of this prequel, viewers bare witness to this gimmick far more than I can recall in just about any horror film that I can think of. This is one of my favorite parts of scary movies, so I didn’t have an issue with it being used as much as it is. I just wish there was more to the film as a whole.

As many of us already know, films like Insidious: Chapter 3 are made with the hopes of being fun more than anything else. While I did want there to be more in terms of plot and overall substance, Insidious: Chapter 3 does deliver some quality scares for people who aren’t completely turned off by horror films that welcome people under the age of eighteen.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Leigh Whannell

Stefanie Scott
Dermot Mulroney
Lin Shaye
Angus Sampson
Leigh Whannell

Film Length: 97 minutes

Release Date: June 5, 2015

Distributor: Focus Features

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