Insidious: Chapter 3
Insidious: Chapter 3 is a sharp decline in quality from the previous two films, most-likely due to writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell's lack of experience behind the lens and a strong case of franchise fatigue.
Leigh Whannell‘s Insidious: Chapter 3 is the latest horror sequel to the successful series created by Whannell and his frequent collaborator James Wan. Chapter 3 marks the directorial debut of Whannell and the result is less than flattering, dropping a sequel that suffers from a lack of ideas and a strong case of franchise fatigue.
Insidious: Chapter 3 takes place before the previous two films, following a young girl named Quinn (Stefanie Scott) as she tries to make contact with her dead mother, but ends up summoning a demon instead.
Leigh Whannell‘s Insidious: Chapter 3 shows early signs of a fading novelty as the film ditches almost all involvement with the previous two films, aside from the returning paranormal expert Elise (Lin Shaye) and her two not-so-expert ghost capturing idiot sidekicks Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell).
The rest of the film features a completely new cast, which should mean new spooks and scares that aren’t stale old copies from the previous films, yet that’s exactly what Chapter 3 is.
To make matters worse — the film relies almost entirely on in-your-face jump scares and less on actual build-up and atmosphere. I’m not sure if this lacking trait is credited to the absent James Wan, who directed and co-wrote the first two films or to the fact that this is the third entry in a horror series that probably should have never extended past its first.
Wan proved that a sequel was possible and a good one at that, but Chapter 3 takes major steps back as it attempts to capture its audience with simple scares and an even dumber plot.
Stefanie Scott does surprisingly well as the film’s leading lady, perfectly capturing that teenage innocence with a sense of hope and helplessness. Her struggling bond with her father is far more interesting than any of the scares offered up by Whannell’s hazy and mute direction.
Insidious played out like a creepy haunted house flick, paying great homage to the original Poltergeist, while Chapter 2 proved that a sequel could be done effectively with a strong tie-in to the first film.
Chapter 3‘s goals are much less impressive, reminding us that you might be able to wrestle up a few jump scares from an audience if you constantly shove predictable scares down their throats, with most of the jumps coming from a “creepy” face jolting onto the screen and lingering for a minute or two too long.
Admittedly, there are a few good sequences, full of suspense and terror, but then the rest of the film settles in and Chapter 3 slowly becomes a bigger and bigger disappointment.
Franchise fatigue is to blame, with Leigh Whannell simply not being able to introduce enough new content to warrant this film’s existence.
Whannell has worked with Wan since Saw and I do believe that he’s a talented writer and an okay director, but he’s no James Wan and thankfully he doesn’t try to be. But that’s what the Insidious series requires and Whannell’s direction is off-putting and too slow for a series that started with such loud and heightened scares.
Hopefully Whannell goes back to the drawing board after this one and really pours his heart and soul into an original project that’s either horror or not, because he’s proven that he’s gifted, but he’s also proven that he’ll take an easy check if that means simply repeating with less style and substance a formula that’s already one film overdue.
Insidious: Chapter 3 might scare die-hard fans of the original film and its sequel, but any seasoned horror-hound will spot the scares from a mile away, finding very little amounts of value in a film that’s without a heartbeat and more lifeless than the demons that embody it.