Time: 98 Minutes
Age Rating: M
Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier
Stefanie Scott as Quinn Brenner
Dermot Mulroney as Sean Brenner
Angus Sampson as Tucker
Leigh Whannell as Specs
Director: Leigh Whannell
Quinn, a young girl, reaches out to a powerful psychic to help her contact her recently deceased mother. However, her plan backfires when an evil spirit makes Quinn a host and hurts her physically.
After writing horror movies, including the first two Insidious movies, Leigh Whannell made his directorial debut with the third chapter in the franchise. I really didn’t remember much of it as I was entering my rewatch of it, but overall I thought it was alright.
Despite the title, Chapter 3 is a prequel to the previous couple Insidious movies, focussing on a new family being affected by a demon. I wasn’t invested with them as much as I was with the Lambert family in Chapters 1 and 2. It was a more cliched and generic demon possession story. Still, it was a decent enough story, and it mostly stands on its own. Many have noted that killing the character of Elise Rainier at the end of the first movie was one of the franchise’s biggest mistakes. Given how the third movie went back in time to have a movie with her, it seems that the creators are inclined to agree. It still has the family as the main focus, but Elise has a much bigger role and plays a part in the plot from the start. Everything involving her were the most interesting parts of the movie. It provides even more backstory for the first movie, and it was nice seeing Elise team up with her sidekicks Specs and Tucker for the first time. One of the weaker parts of the movie for me was the demon. Its design is pretty good, but there’s plenty about the entity that wasn’t explained, and there wasn’t any development for it. It felt kind of disposable and could’ve been swapped out with any vague demon idea.
Stefanie Scott is pretty good in the lead role as the girl who is affected by the demon. However, the standout unsurprisingly is Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier, in an increased role here. The first couple movies had her as an intriguing character, a psychic who is very aware of the spirit world and now doubt had plenty of experiences. In Chapter 3 we get to learn a bit more about her. It really shows her struggle of not wanting to tap into the supernatural, the movie really humanised her and expanded on her. It also shows more of paranormal investigators Specs and Tucker played by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson as they were starting out before meeting Elise.
Instead of James Wan directing Insidious: Chapter 3, Leigh Whannell is helming it. It is a decent directorial debut, but you do notice the lack of Wan. The visual effects, makeup and costume design for the demon are great as always, some of the imagery is eerie, and the familiar score from Insidious is on point. It even has some of the dread and atmosphere that you’d expect. However, the jumpscares were lacking even compared to the last couple movies, and felt a little cheap.
Insidious: Chapter 3 is far from the best in the series. However, it was a pretty good and enjoyable prequel with some solid performances and was a decent directorial debut for Leigh Whannell.