Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2015
Run Time: 97 minutes
Review - Rusty Ryan
  
It seems this summer we will be hit with a larger-than-usual barrage of sequels and remakes. Most will be adequate (Poltergeist), and a few will actually equal or surpass their predecessors (Mad Max: Fury Road). But fear not, you faithful Insidious devotees. The third installment of the Insidious series easily falls into the latter category. Did I say fear not? Actually you should prepare yourselves for some good old-fashioned movie fear.

Insidious 3 is actually a prequel. It takes place before the haunting of the Lambert family detailed in Insidious 1. James Wan, the director of the first two installments, is not behind the camera this time but his longtime collaborator Leigh Whannell is at the helm for his directorial debut and the viewer won’t miss a beat. I could almost argue that Whannell’s style is an improvement for this type of film. The sometimes-frenetic style of Wan has been replaced with a confident, straightforward technique. Whannell has learned his craft well and effectively mixes long slow zooms with quick cuts at just the right time. Whannell was the writer and had a supporting role in the first two films and his respect of the genre is evident. Make no mistake; this is not a knock on James Wan. His contributions to horror movies (Saw, The Conjuring, Dead Silence, Insidious) cannot be underestimated.

The movie stars Stephanie Scott as teenager Quinn Brenner, who is hurting from the death of her mother. It’s made clear early in the film that Quinn’s amateur attempts to contact her deceased mother in the afterlife might have brought back a very nasty spirit. At first she thinks the weird occurrences in her room are caused by her mom trying to communicate with her. But this is Insidious and that is just not how things work. The creepy entity seems to share a lot of the same visual DNA as Doctor Satan from Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. That is not a complaint. This is a particularly nasty fellow. Early in the film Scott’s character experiences a terrible accident leaving her immobilized and bed ridden. This only adds to her helplessness and the sense of dread as the spirit makes his presence and cruel intentions known. Scott is convincing as a grief stricken young lady and that is increasingly confused and frightened by events that are occurring around her.

Dermot Mulroney plays her dad. Dermot is a reliable actor and he does a good job with the material he is given but his character is flat and one dimensional for most of the movie. He is, however, given opportunities to show his chops during the final third of the story and he comes through.

Lyn Shye is back as the gifted psychic Elise Rainer. She is the true star of the show. She reluctantly agrees to help Quinn despite concerns and doubts of her own. Lyn is a shining light whenever she is on screen and we learn a lot about her character’s past, her fears and how she comes to team up with Specs and Tucker. Shye’s acting is a marvel. Her eyes alone can convey a wide range of emotion and her part requires a very concise theatrical touch. It would be easy to overact because of the supernatural subject matter as much of her screen time involves interaction with the many spirits that inhabit “The Further”.

As previously stated, fan favorites Specs and Tucker are back as fledgling ghost hunters. Director Whannell reprises his role as Specs and Angus Sampson again portrays Tucker. They provide just the right amount of humor amid the ghostly chaos.

THE FINAL TAKE: 3 out of 4 stars
Insidious 3 is a tight, entertaining and scary film that stays true to its roots. You won’t find any cheap film scare gimmicks (like the obligatory cat jumping into the frame). It does not take itself too seriously and contains some moments of true humor amid the suspense. If you enjoy two hours of scary escapism or if you are a fan of the series, you will not be disappointed with this installment. Like Mad Max: Fury Road, a thorough knowledge of the previous movies in not a requirement. Insidious 3 does tie up some loose ends and provide backstory to minor events in parts 1 & 2 but it can also stand on it’s own. Insidious 3 is scary, spine tingling escapism and after all, that is why you go to horror movies in the first place, right?


CUT. PRINT.

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