By Luis Ortega
The 1-4-0: #Insidious3, the latest chapter in the Insidious franchise will have you smiling more than twisting your face in disgust and horror.
The Gist: In this prequel and years before the Lambert family (Insidious, Insidious Chapter 2), there were the Brenners. In an effort to reach her recently deceased mom, teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) calls out for her mom, but unwillingly brings back a demon that attaches itself to her. Recently retired psychic Elise (Lin Shaye) is thus pulled back into the business as she helps rid the Brenner family of the evil force that’s haunting them.
What Works: This is a solid attempt from first time director Leigh Whannell, who has also played the role of Specs in all three Insidious films. The man knows how to ease the tension by having great comedic timing. This is something Insidious: Chapter 2 suffered with as it tried very hard to insert comedy, but it ended up being too awkward. The acting was solid, though nothing blew me away, and I enjoyed getting a bit more back story on the mysterious psychic Elise and her assistants, Specs and Tucker. The makeup effects for the demons and ghosts were great as they had a gross-out quality to them. Never did the film dip to unwatchable territory, I was pretty entertained throughout.
What Doesn’t Work: Therein lays the problem. I was too entertained when I should’ve been scared. Nope. Leigh Whannell directed a great comedy, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Every character, save for the demons, has a charming quality to them which makes them relatable and likeable. That’s great and all, but at one point this charm, which is used for comedic purposes, overshadows the horror elements of the film. You will find yourself laughing at some great jokes rather than holding your breath. That being said the horror isn’t very well done in the film either. There are two or three great scares, at most, I didn’t see coming. The rest were predictable and downright silly. At one point the oh-so-scary demon takes his time to be nice enough to shut down a laptop. The more elaborate horror scenes were, unfortunately, spoiled for us in the trailers. Shame because they were really well done. The first Insidious film did a great job with the horror elements. The film was creepy and, for the most part, subtle. However, someone was trigger happy when mixing the sound for Insidious: Chapter 3. Every time something scary came out of a corner or appeared out of thin air, the same screeching score played, cueing us it is time to be afraid. It was the horror-movie equivalent to a laugh track. It got to the point where I wanted the film to stop trying so hard to be scary and let me just enjoy the hilarious back and forth between the characters.
Pay or Nay: Nay. Never did I expect to hear so much laughing at the screening of a horror film. Not worth full price. If you’re looking for a truly scary film, rent James Wan’s The Conjuring or Scott Derrickson’s Sinister or Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers. Then you can thank me for not sleeping at night.
Rated: PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements .
Release Date: June 5, 2015
Screenplay: Leigh Whannell
Director(s): Leigh Whannell
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson
Distributor: Focus Features
Film Genre: Horror