Director: Leigh Whannell
Starring: Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Reid MacKay
Let me begin by saying that I am a fan of the original ‘Insidious’ film. I originally saw it at the cinema and enjoyed it so much that I even splashed out on a DVD copy! I thought the idea that our spirits depart our body, leaving ourselves as hopeless vessels with the potential to be possessed by all manner of things relatively new and inventive, and as a result I’ve invested in this as one of my favourite horror franchises. I didn’t particularly have high expectations for this film though, as films tend to get worse in quality and entertainment value the further into a franchise they appear. This outing was however a pleasant surprise, although not an overly inspiring addition to the ‘Insidious’ film series.
‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ goes back to a time before the haunting of the Lambert family. The film focuses around a young girl, Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) who has lost her mother to cancer. As her depression from the loss of her mother grows, she decides she wants to try and contact her spirit with the help of a recommended psychic, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). Despite warnings from Elise not to try and contact the dead, Quinn continues to try and her voice in the world of the undead alerts the films antagonist, “The Man Who Can’t Breathe”. Once alerted to Quinn’s strife, this demon sets out to possess her body and claim her spirit as his prized possession, by his side in the world of the undead.
As far as scares go for this film, it’s pretty reliant on jump tactics and as a result I thought it didn’t fulfil it’s potential to be a great horror film. On seeing the original for the first time, I remember being scared for at least a day afterwards, but in the case of this latest addition I had forgotten the majority of the scary moments within a couple hours of leaving the cinema. There is one exception to this general rule, with one scene being one of those moments that made the whole cinema gasp in disgust and horror; yes it was that bad. But I won’t spoil that little surprise for you here. As a main villain, The Man Who Can’t Breathe, is a little bit flawed – not helped by the fact that he has the most unimaginative name I have ever heard. He isn’t particularly disturbing on a visual level, and on whole he isn’t overly malevolent compared to other horror icons. This, alongside the fact that there appeared to be an imbalance between comedy and horror at times, meant that the scare factor was pretty limited.
The aspect that really helped this film to become a relative success (in my eyes at least) was the story line. This felt like a narrative that a lot of thought had gone into, and it really provokes an emotional reaction from the audience and I would even go as far to say, that I bet a tear or two was shed in the cinema the night I was in attendance. I felt like the film portrays an important message throughout, underneath the typical horror-driven surface. I was of the impression that this was a story highlighting the problems of those suffering from severe depression. The possession of Quinn is symbolic of the way that depression envelops and totally takes control of an individual. That was just my reading of the film, but the amount of hints towards this film being an allegory for depression are there for all to see, if you look carefully enough.
All in all, this is a decent conclusion to the ‘Insidious’ franchise, and I really hope that this is actually the final chapter. This film perfectly wraps up the trilogy, and they all link together really well. I fear that if they continue to make films, then the franchise will lose some of its credibility. It’s a rare occasion when a trilogy of films does not have a recognisably weak link, and that is something I hope they appreciate when discussing the future of ‘Insidious’. Leaving it as a trilogy would be the perfect move in my eyes, but we all know money talks, so we’ll see what happens. As I’ve said, there were many tributes to the original film (some subtle and some not so), so I would definitely recommend going to see this film if you are a fan of the other two. Even if you haven’t, I would still recommend that you go and see it nonetheless, if horror is your cup of tea. As a horror film, it leaves a fair amount to be desired and as a stand alone film it won’t leave you sleeping with the lights on. It will instead leave a more sincere and thought-provoking impression on you which is a welcome and refreshing change.