Director: Leigh Whannell
Writers: Leigh Whannell, Leigh Whannell (characters)
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, 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.
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 58% Audience 52%
Why I watched it: Saw the first two, loved the first one and thought the second one was alright, not nearly as good as the first one but it had it’s moments.
Random Thoughts: As a rule I hate prequels, I find them a huge cash grab, everyone movie ever made could have a prequel the key is and this is big is there a story better than the one you told to tell that happened before. Most times prequels tell us what we already know, the tension is gone cause we know where they have to end up. Now with Insidious 3 it’s a bit different cause we don’t follow the family from the first two we follow the psychic played by Lin Shaye and I have to admit it was a good idea, cause if you’ve seen the second one you know a sequel would be trickier than a prequel, and they could show us another case she dealt with and of course maybe how she first encountered the further so I was on board for a prequel. Also Whannell wrote the first two so I trusted him with this one.
What I liked: I horror franchise is a strange animal cause you look at the movies as part of a whole, is this entry decent enough to not hurt the overall franchise and clearly Insidious is a franchise now. The question you ask is does this movie fit into the overall feel of Insidious and I say yes, Lin Shaye is the reason to watch the film, her character Elise Rainer is a classic horror character, she’s tortured, she’s gifted and ultimately doomed. This time out we see her backstory and also they do a nice job of fleshing out her character, in this third film she is a full character not a secondary character we know some thing, she know a lot more about her. I will say I’m a sucker for a scared character in a horror film, someone who’s seen the evil or the monster and is scared not a coward per say but someone who knows I can’t do this. This is a nice story of someone who knows evil is out there and tries to stay away but is pulled back because deep down she wants to help people and that’s always a cool story.
I’d like to take some time to also talk about what I think this film is about, loss, it’s a big part of this story, the main character the teenage girl has lost her mother, so that means the father has lost his wife, Elise has lost her husband. Everyone is in pain here, there’s also a small sub plot with a couple who lives in the apartment next store, it’s an old couple and the wife isn’t doing well she has some form of dementia, at one point when the father talks to his daughter he mentions the cat lady who lives next store, well something happens to her and we find the husband sitting in the lobby and when the father talks to him the husband has this little speech about his wife and how long they were married and how she was once a young and beautiful women, and now people just call her the cat lady and how she was so much more than that.
I thought it was a great little human moment and to give it to a supporting character was a nice tough to show everyone has their story and it’s easy to just overlook people. There’s a few moments like that, Lin Shaye has a nice scene where she talks about her husband and how he killed himself. It’s moments like this in a genre story that’s so important, to stop and have a character moment is key in us caring about the horror. If we like the people we care what happens, it sounds simple but so many horror films skip that step and just give us stock characters.
So it’s a horror film is it scary, yup, there’s a couple of moments that got me, it’s not as scary or as intense as the first one but it’s as spooky as the second. The funny thing with the Insidious films is that it’s kind of a combo ghost and demon story, kind of a haunting and a possession story.
What I didn’t like: The main story with the family, the daughter, younger son and father is cookie cutter, we’ve seen it a thousand times and it’s a little too cliched for a film trying to have more depth. The daughter played by Stefanie Scott is fine, her performance is good just doesn’t have the family vibe with the rest of the cast her and Dermot Mulroney don’t seem like father and daughter, I know that could be on purpose but it does hold the story back. The film does rely on the annoying “the sound is super loud when something scary happens” I hate that and yes they rely on jump scares a couple work. There are call backs to characters from the first two films and I wish they were in it more. Shaye as to carry a lot of the film and it’s nice to see her playing off characters we know I wish they had more time together.
Final Thoughts: For a horror prequel and a third entry in a franchise this was a pretty decent movie, it wasn’t great but it was good enough for what it was, I like the character moments and I liked we had emotional depth to the horror.