Review: Insidious: Chapter 3
Returning to creepy apartments and mist-filled netherworlds, Insidious Chapter 3 follows the successful formula of its first installment, just without all the novelty.
It’s a bit of history repeating for these perennial supernatural horror stories, though this one looks to go back to the beginning at least, partly to create a more interesting story, and partly so that there can be a Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.
Set as a prequel, we are holed up in a bedroom alongside headstrong teenager Quinn, who following a car accident, has a pair of broken legs. That doesn’t bode well for her, as while trying to contact her dead mother, looking for signs of her love, she instead contacted something more sinister.
So doors open and close, the ceiling shakes, and whispers travel through the vents as Quinn becomes the vessel sought after by a malicious demon. That she is stuck in her bed, wielding only a bell to get the attention of her loving but misguided father Sean (Dermot Mulroney), offers a series of creepy scenarios, especially when she winds up in a hallway or another apartment and tries to get away.
Initially she enlists the help of Elise (Lin Shaye), the only mainstay in this trilogy, though the wise woman who speaks with the dead insists she is retired. She isn’t, of course, and Elise is given a parallel story, as she longs to connect with her deceased husband. She later reconnects with Quinn, and so begins a quest to rid her of her demon stalkers – Elise has one too it seems.
That Chapter 3 is formulaic isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the scares are effective, albeit fleeting, and young actress Stephanie Scott is worthy in this scream queen role. There is nothing new, though fans of the franchise will appreciate the care with which first time director Leigh Whannell handles the characters and story (he wrote all three films, and stars as the nebbish paranormal investigator Specs).
This entry has more weight than some other easily-made, quickly-produced ghost stories, but plays it safe, tricking and titillating while leaving the door open for more of the same to come. We know something is standing behind her, we know that isn’t the neighbor knocking on the wall, and we know we should have listened to the wise old black lady everyone thought was a kook.