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Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 3

Released 5 June 2015
Director Leigh Whannell

Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Lin Shaye, Tate Berney, Michael Reid MacKay, Steve Coulter, Hayley Kiyoko, Corbett Tuck
Writer(s) Leigh Whannell

Jason Blum, Oren Peli, James Wan
Origin United States, Canada
Running Time 97 minutes
Genre Horror
Rating 15A

Further more.

The superior sequel is a rare beast in cinema and even moreso in the horror genre, where the effective original titles become parent to increasingly disappointing progeny. For me though, Insidious: Chapter 2 did a rather good job in keeping up with the original in terms of glossy, if slightly daft scares. Director James Wan pulled off a great balancing act between subtle, catch your breath moments and full on jump scares that would make even the most practiced genre fan clutch their armrests. So how does Chapter 3 fare now that Wan has been replaced in the director’s chair by writer of the series Leigh Whannell?

Chapter 3 takes place several years before the events of the first two films. Following the death of her beloved husband, talented medium Elise (Lin Shaye) has retired from her profession and withdrawn into her grief. When she is visited by Quinn, a young woman (Stefanie Scott) hoping to make contact with her deceased mother, Elise reluctantly agrees to help. It quickly becomes clear though that there is a more malevolent spirit haunting Quinn, one that Elise may not be able to tackle in her anguished state.

While it could certainly be argued that Whannell can’t compete with Wan’s laser guided talent for spotting an opportunity to freak out the audience, there are plenty of creepy moments and effective scares here to keep the spirit of the franchise alive and haunting. What I found really surprising though was how much the film impacted upon me in an emotional way. This is a horror film with genuine heart, that tackles grief in a sweet and profound way. The always excellent Shaye gets to bring some real depth to her character as she copes with the loss of both her husband and her life’s work. Scott also does some good work as the teenager grieving her mother, so much so that I may or may not have welled up in the final scenes. Don’t tell anyone.

Was I ever terrified during Insidious: Chapter 3? Perhaps not but I was consistently entertained. Whannell clearly has a huge soft spot for the world he has created in these films and here he crafts a sequel that has enough heart and horror to recommend it to fans of the series as well as to the casual viewer.

- Linda O’Brien