Fans of the horror genre should be familiar with the Insidious franchise by now. The Insidious movies are some of the best horror movies in recent history, and Chapter 3 doesn’t disappoint in delivering the scare factor. This movie has its highs and lows but it overall keeps its audience engaged and scared all the way through.
Insidious: Chapter 3 serves as a prequel to the first two movies and revolves around a new family, the Brenner, instead of the Lambert. The story follows a young teen, Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), who has recently lost her mother and seems to have dabbled in the occult on her own in an attempt to reach out to her. After several failed attempts to communicate with her deceased mother, Quinn seeks out a familiar character in the Insidious franchise, Elise Rainer (played by Lin Shaye). The super likeable Elise makes a great return to the movie, providing the movie with a sense of continuity with the first two installments. Quinn hopes that Elise can help set up the connection between her and her mother, but initially Elise refuses to help her out because she no longer does these readings. But it doesn’t take long before Elise changes her mind and decides to help Quinn. Unfortunately, this opens up a portal for an evil entity to latch onto Quinn. Without spoiling the movie too much, the monster creates a living hell for Quinn. Out of all three movies in the Insidious trilogy, this movie has the most screen time for its monster. The monster, also known as The Man Who Can’t Breathe, is downright creepy and leaves black tar-like footprints wherever he goes. As the movie chugs along we find out a little more about this man, but disappointedly it doesn’t offer much in terms of a backstory for its major antagonist. The film fails to explain the monster’s motivation and why it prefers to stay in the dark side rather than going into the light. According to the story, the realm where this monster comes from is called the Further, and it is made up of both dark and light regions. Many spirits are stuck in the dark region but want to be released from it while others simply do not want to leave the dark because they like it there and the one plaguing Quinn is one of the latter. Regardless the monster serves its purpose and gives the audience one heck of a scary ride.
Insidious is one of the few horror movies out there that can make a scary movie without shoving jump scares down our throat. The movie has plenty of cliché jump scares but it doesn’t strive to make that its main focus. The creepiness of the monster and the subtle heaven or hell nature make it a much more of a humanized scary story. At times the movie creates sequences that will have you covering your ears or peeking through your fingers because the build up and suspension are done so well that you know something very scary is coming at you. Some of the most terrifying moments in the film take place inside the ‘Further’, the place where Elise goes to speak to the dead. The theater gets dead silent and you don’t know what to expect as the filmmakers want you to believe that this is what Hell looks like.
The theme of this movie isn’t all horror though, because 3/4 into the movie we see a couple more familiar faces, Tucker and Specs (played by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell, respectively). The two klutzy, almost cartoonish ghost exterminators make their debut in the first Insidious and, like Elise, have been recurring characters in the franchise. The moment they show up, the ambiance changes dramatically because the movie instantly feels less scary. They provide the comic relief and light-hearted fun to a franchise that is hellbent on keeping you up at night or making you sleep with the lights on. In other words, Tucker and Specs dumb down the built up tension from scary sequences and their presence puts you feeling more at ease with all the supernatural and horror elements that have been thrown at you before. However, this could both be a positive or negative thing depending on the individual. Some may like the infusion of comedy to relieve the horror while others can argue that it disrupts the tension and doesn’t belong in the movie.
The story also revolves around a weird chemistry between the Brenner family members. At times the daughter and dad (played by Dermot Mulroney) seem to simply be reading off their lines. In scenes where the daughter is in places she shouldn’t be, you’ll find the dad bursting out and saying things like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” It leads to some really cheesy lines and bad-acting that could have you embarrassingly crack up in the middle of a HORROR movie. One specific part had me dying from laughter and I had to literally bring myself back into the movie or I wouldn’t have stopped laughing. Scenes like this are good for the audience to be put at ease, but it’s arguably a little too much for its own good.
Insidious can now be called one of the most gratifying horror movies in recent history. Chapter 3 most likely took a gamble when it was made as a prequel, especially after the less than stellar Chapter 2 which failed to deliver the same tension and surprises that made the original Insidious so chilling. Nevertheless, Chapter 3 succeeds in bringing back that tension to provide a far more chilling experience than Chapter 2. This a great movie for both horror fans and people who haven’t watched an Insidious movie before because of an all new storyline that’s disconnected from the plot of the first two installments. Let me know in the comments on what you thought of the movie, and for all the latest movie reviews, keep it locked to FGE!