Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

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Overall Rating 61%
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Ranked #1,417
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Connections: Insidious

A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: August 23, 2017
Now that the Lamberts' story has wrapped up, the Insidious franchise has switched into prequel mode and is focusing on some of Elise's former cases. Did the approach work or are they just trying to squeeze blood from the series' stone until its squeezed completely dry?

Before Dalton Lambert fell into a coma, Elise Rainer was approached by a young woman named Quinn Brenner. She's recently lost her mother and begs the psychic to help her contact her. Despite initially claiming to be retired, Elise gives in and discovers that the other-worldy contact is not her mother but a malicious entity. She sends the girl on her way with a warning against anymore amateur seances. Naturally, the first thing she does that night is try and start a conversation with her mother and soon she's seeing images of a decaying man with a breathing mask. At first, the figure intrigues Quinn and in an attempt to get close to it one night she wanders in front of a moving car and ends up with both her legs in a cast. With his prey immobilized, the spirit immediately becomes more aggressive and her only hope is Elise deciding against her better judgement that Quinn is worth helping, despite the toll a lifetime of paranormal dealings has taken on her.

Perhaps the biggest talking point of Chapter 3 is that James Was has passed the directorial duties to his friend Leigh Whannell, the man who wrote the first two movies. James Wan has an amazing eye for aesthetics, excelling at an effective use of a panning shot and subtlety placing foreshadowing in the background that can easily go unnoticed. Along with his usual mid-paced tempo, these have all been replaced with a more straight forward approach. Sure, it's still creepy and there are a few scenes that are incredibly unnerving but there's nothing here that truly sets it apart from other films in the genre. Even the ending falls prey to this trend. Like the rest of the movie, it was a well-done scene but one hell of a cliche.

Even looking at its place in the Insidious franchise as a whole, it's quite a ham-fisted affair. Things like showing us Elise coming up with the term The Further. It makes no sense that Elise hasn't had a name for that dark place this late in her career. In the same vein, she uses the terms demon and spirit interchangeably. I know it sounds like an inconsequential point but being the franchise is now seemingly focused on the character, these details are important. It's not all nitpicks though. There was one major decision made that irked the shit out of me. I'm not going to spoil it obviously but I just can't stand how filmmakers seemingly can't help themselves and try and force connections with the previous movies when they aren't needed. As is usually the case, it didn't make a damned bit of sense and they'd have been much better off dropping that sub-plot entirely. Fortunately, there are a few bright spots. For example, we got to see her meeting with Specs and Tucker and that played out decently enough.

I liked Insidious: Chapter 3, but there's no denying it's a downgrade from the two that came before it. Lin Shaye is more than up to the task of carrying the franchise but Leigh Whannell is seriously going to need to up his game if the upcoming fourth entry is to be any sort of revitalization. 5/10.
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