Insidious: Chapter 3, 2015.
Directed by Leigh Whannell.
Starring Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Leigh Whannell, Stefanie Scott and Angus Sampson.
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
After adding a unique twist to the haunted house story with the first Insidious film and the subsequent sequel that tied up all the loose ends; for their third outing, Leigh Whannell has decided to go down the prequel route. The standout characters from the first two films were enigmatic psychic Elise (once again played by Lin Shaye) and her two hapless ghost assistants (Whannell and Sampson) and so it is logical that the next story should focus on them. Unfortunately this lack lustre horror adds nothing new to the mythology of the series.
We’re firstly introduced to a new family. There’s the pretty teenager (Scott) who’s struggling to cope with the death of her Mother, the youngest son who is seemingly neglected throughout the entire story and the grief stricken Father (Mulroney). These are carbon copy characters that we’ve seen on our screens a thousand times before which makes it difficult to care what happens to them. It is only when the character of Elise shows up that the story really gets anywhere.
The story itself is by the numbers – girl makes contact with a dead spirit that hitches a ride back with her after a near death experience: weirdness ensues. Whilst the story isn’t anything different to the first two Insidious outings, it does offer a good level of horror. The main antagonist for this film is “The Man Who Can’t Breathe”. Not the creepiest of names but his presence in the film is genuinely unsettling and there are a few unnerving moments in the film where you do start to feel the character’s fear. This is then followed by the typical horror move of a loud noise to jump you out of your seat. Whereas the first film kept you uneasy throughout – the scene with Rose Byrne walking through her house and you see the ghost of a small boy following her was a masterclass of subtlety – there is none of that in this film. Every eerie moment is followed by a jump scare that ruins the tension of the film.
First time director Whannell has provided us with some of the best horrors of recent years, but as a director his view feels amateurish at times and it lacks the nuance of usual director James Wan. Whannell clearly loves the world he’s created and he treats the other side of “The Further” as we have come to know it with great care and attention – it’s just a shame that this can’t be said for the human characters who are ludicrously bland. Visually the film is intriguing to watch as Elise delves into The Further but you can see the ending coming a mile off and there’s only so often that jump scare tactics will work.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Helen Murdoch is a freelance writer – Follow me on Twitter