In the previous iterations of the Insidious franchise, Lin Shaye always seems to steal the film as psychic Elise. Insidious: Chapter 3 is no different, but with Elise being given an even more central role, the talented Shaye is given her chance to shine. This journey ramps up the tension and succeeds in delivering a thoroughly enjoyable yet terrifying addition to the series.
Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) comes to Elise with a plea for help. She’s been trying to contact her mother and now strange things are happening. But Elise is retired and refuses to help, but warns Quinn to stop contacting the dead lest she draws unfriendly spirits into her home. But as Quinn’s life rapidly deteriorates into one paranormal disaster after another, Elise is forced to once more delve into shadowy realm, ‘The Further’, to battle the demonic presence that threatens the teen.
The paranormal occurrences are relentless, driving the film through night after terror fuelled night.
Though the second Insidious falls slightly below its fellows, Insidious 3 is more akin to the first film, delivering some of the same clever scares and solid characterisation. In fact, in many ways, Insidious 3 is the scariest of the three, with the main spirit in particular- a malevolent, gas-masked ghost- being much more terrifying than the Darth Maul lookalike from the first outing. Unlike many horror films of recent years, it is genuinely quite scary, with horrifically creepy paranormal beings depicted in the film being accompanied by, but not quite overpowered by frequent jump scares, keeping audiences unnerved throughout. The paranormal occurrences are relentless, driving the film through night after terror fuelled night, with some horrifying apparitions that will no doubt inspire countless Halloween costumes.
Perhaps where Insidious: Chapter 3 is most successful in surpassing its predecessors is in terms of giving Lin Shaye the chance to really shine. The ‘crazy psychic’ persona of the first two movies gives way to a much deeper characterisation, with the film exploring her past, as well as hinting at her future. In a similar way, Quinn is given some fantastic back story, which allows the film to deliver on an emotional level not commonly seen in a horror film.
Despite the great characterisation and scares that elevates this film above its predecessors, Insidious 3 is, by no means, faultless. Quinn’s father (Dermot Mulroney) has one overtly shouty voice for pretty much the entire film, with the ‘bad father’ persona becoming overpoweringly dull incredibly fast. As a prequel, it also suffers slightly from trying to link itself too closely with the other Insidious outings, with a number of tongue-in-cheek references, something that quickly loses its novelty.
Delivering stronger scares, plot and characterisation than the other Insidious outings, Insidious: Chapter 3 is the best of the series so far. With some terrifying spooks and an awful lot of jump scares, this is one horror flick that is not easily forgotten.