Insidious Chapter 3 is the inevitable prequel set before the events concerning the Lambert family in part one. Despite her third billed status, the drama revolves around teen Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott). Her mother has recently succumbed to cancer and Quinn misses her terribly. She goes to visit a spirit medium, Elise Rainier, played by returning cast member Lin Shaye. A warm presence, she is a welcome sight. Elise attempts to make contact and immediately feels an evil entity that strikes her with fear. She warns Quinn that when you try to speak to the dead, all of them can hear you. So the apparent moral is, “Don’t attempt to talk to your loved ones who have passed on.” Seriously?
Insidious was an an effective chiller because it built suspense out of simple things. It was able to make a pair of shoes behind the curtains seem creepy or a shadowy figure outside the window. As the 2010 movie was refreshingly straightforward, Chapter 2 went the other route, becoming overly complicated with needless exposition to define everything we had seen in the first story. In this way the script undermined the source. It’s not unlike revealing the secrets behind how a magician performs his craft. You’re now more informed but less dazzled by what you initially saw.
I guess the nicest thing I can say about Chapter 3 is that it doesn’t leave a stench as rank as Chapter 2. It’s not horrible – just dull. The narrative is utterly rote. There’s precious little creativity to justify why this was made. Actress Lin Shaye is vital as the psychic. Also back are paranormal investigators Tucker and Specs: Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell. They’re mildly amusing. Unfortunately the plot relies on a lot of cheap jump scares that are more irritating than frightening. Furthermore, every single one is inserted exactly where you expect it, so they’re predicable as well as tiresome. Dermot Mulroney plays it sitcom campy as Quinn’s father. He acts as if he’s in a completely different film from everyone else. He’s a shouter in a room full of whisperers. Whannell returns as screenwriter and takes over directing duties this time. James Wan, the director of the previous installments, is now only a co-producer. While it’s an improvement over Chapter 2, the picture has significantly lower production values. If how Elise met Tucker & Specs has been keeping you up at night, then Chapter 3 might serve a purpose. Otherwise be good to your ears and watch something less discordant.