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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Does The Third Chapter Scare Audiences Or Leave Them Scratching Their Heads? An Insidious Chapter 3 Review



Film Score: ⭐⭐⭐

Released by Sony

Release Date: June 5th, 2015

Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, and Lin Shaye

Written by Leigh Whannell

Directed by Leigh Whannell

Rated PG-13 (violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements)


I am not the biggest fan of prequels. While it is nice to see how a character was formed or things it the past that affected them, we know that the characters that have already appeared in the films that came before are going to be alright. We know that a character will be put through the ringer, but they will be ok. They have to be, they are in the first film.
Insidious Chapter 3 is a prequel. I honestly do not know why they went with a sequel other than one of the main characters would not be in a sequel due to their untimely death. This is the problem that I spoke of in the previous paragraph. We know that a character is going to be alright, so the tension is taken out of the film, at least when it pertains to characters who are going to survive.

Chapter 3 tells the story of a high school student who wants to desperately go to acting school. She has also recently lost her mother and has been trying to contact her. It really isn’t clear how she tries to contact her mother. It just seems like she can just sit there and try. I don’t know if this was the filmmakers’ intention, but it seems like she is praying and is condemned for it. The last time she tries she attracts a demon, who wears a breathing mask and sounds like a nasty Darth Vader, and starts messing with her head.


I forgot to tell you that she goes to see Elise Rainier, the medium from the first two films. She tells the girl that she doesn’t do readings anymore, but tries to contact the girl’s mother anyway. She then tells the girl to never try to contact her mother again because if you call out to one spirit (?) you call out to them all and another one may try to lie and get in on some of that sweet, sweet live soul. As I mentioned before, the girl does just that and the mouth breathing demon attaches itself to her.

The film starts out very slowly. We get to know the girl, her family, and her friends. Once the shit hits the fan though, her friends are forgotten. Her brother is even in the apartment when some of this stuff goes on, but it is never brought up. I think the filmmakers forgot about him until they needed him. Then he disappears for the rest of the film.

Once the scary shit starts, the film’s pace begins to get going. We cut between the girl being messed with and the medium swearing that she isn’t going to help, then changing her mind, then changing her mind again, and finally she talks to another medium who convinces her to help the girl. The medium then just shows up in the apartment.


The script is pretty loose with the storytelling. Sometimes there is evidence that something has been going on and then sometimes there isn’t. I do like how the father believes her almost right away. I think that the second time the demon appears (which only the girl can see), the dad starts believing her. I like that. She is almost eighteen or is eighteen, I don’t. What I am trying to say is that a normal mother or father would believe their child if they came to them with something like this, at her age. If see was nine then there would have been a whole scene, played for laughs, where the dad goes into the closet and “scares” away a ghost, man, you take your pick. At a young age it is funny. Any older and it is serious.

Insidious Chapter 3 relies on “boo scares”. Quiet, quiet, quiet, and then BOOOOOOMMMM!, a scare. The film continues this throughout the film, except for the big “into the void or whatever they call it and save the girl” scene. That sequence, like the ones in the previous films, is nicely shot and edited. There is a lot of tension and it builds and builds. There are not really any “boo scares”, just a nice amount of atmosphere.

There are a few other scenes in the film that play out very nicely. The first encounter with the demon, while having a lot of “boo scares”, is a really well put together scene. If they had just taken out some of those damn “music stingers” the scene would have been better. Another sequence where the girl is found in the empty apartment upstairs is pretty scary and has a nice reveal.


The film was directed by series creator and writer of this film, Leigh Whannell. This is his first time in the director’s chair and I think that he does a pretty good job. He does have an eye for composition. Early in the film, when the medium is calling out to the girl’s mother, Whannell keeps the medium in the center of the widescreen frame and she is in silhouette with light peaking around from the back. This is a nice shot and it helps give the film a little bit extra. I do think that some of the pace is off, but that could be due to bad editing and not his fault.

Insidious Chapter 3 is a decent horror flick. The film is pretty scary even if the scares are mostly “boo scares”. The acting is appropriate for the material, although there are a few scenes where the medium seems to be overacting. Outside of that I liked the film. It is not the best in the series, but it still has the power to scare and I think if you can still do that three films in then you have done your job correctly. Leigh Whannell has done his job correctly (for the most part).
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