of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2015
Run Time: 97 minutes
- 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
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?
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