I loved the first Insidious film. There was something special about it. Insidious: Chapter 2 wasn't as great but it was still a pretty decent, solid sequel. This year takes us back to the beginning, with Insidious: Chapter 3 - a very welcomed new addition to the Insidious franchise.
When it comes to the horror genre, I try to veer away from it is as much as possible. The truth of the matter is that I simply do not like getting scared. I can take a scare, sure. I just don't like it. However, that's not to say that I've never seen and will never watch a horror film in my life. You know what to expect from this genre though as the films, quite typically, play to the same rhythm and clichés. So, of course, when James Wan's Insidious opened, back in 2010, it came as a surprise to see such a unique, scary new horror film that captured the brilliance of the good, old-school horrors and none of the generic, modern day genre garbage.
There was something special about the film. It, to some extent, was a game-changer for modern horrors. It's a contemporary cult classic - up in the same ranks as other films like The Conjuring or the recent It Follows. Of course, the success of the film spawned a sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2, and whilst it wasn't as good as its predecessor - the norm with most sequels - it was still a decent film. Now, this year, we go back to the beginning of the story with the third instalment in the franchise - yet another horror prequel. However, Insidious: Chapter 3 boasts itself more than most prequels and it succeeds on that front too, taking this franchise to a whole new level.
Set before the events of the first Insidious film, Insidious: Chapter 3 follows aspiring actress Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott); a typical 17 year-old girl facing your typical teen problems growing up. However, when her mother passes away to cancer, things get a little tough and emotional for her and her family. Wanting to reconnect with her dead mother, Quinn sets about trying to do so on her own but, unfortunately, fails and so seeks out physic Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) for help instead.
Due to a traumatic event from her childhood though, Elise isn't keen on returning to 'The Further' and so refuses. Upon returning home, however, things aren't as they were and what Quinn doesn't know is that her awry attempt at kindling with spirits got her some unwanted attention and she begins to notice paranormal events in her house. When a vicious supernatural entity targets the innocent girl and brutally hospitalises her, her panicked father Sean Brenner (Dermot Mulroney) races to find Elise and begs that she use her abilities to contact the dead in order to get a hold of the entity that is eating away at Quinn's body and soul and save her from the hell that is 'The Further'.
I've already mentioned that I'm a big fan of the Insidious films - I don't mind the second one as much as most people. We haven't had a good, scary horror this year yet either (It Follows was good but not exactly scary) so, naturally, I had really high expectations from this - even more so after seeing the scary, promising trailers. I'm happy to report that this delivered. It really did. It was terrifying.
The acting in Insidious 3 is, by far, the best acting we've seen in this trilogy. Franchise veteran Lin Shaye was, as always, fantastic. Her portrayal of Elise is great and she really brings a lot of depth and humanity to the proceedings. Any other older actress wouldn't be able to bring the same level of emotion and realism to the character of Elise as Shaye does. She's a natural in this role. Despite her character's death in an earlier Inisudious film, she's so good that we've gone back in time just to see her play Elise again.
Aside from Shaye though, the real breakout star of the show is the quirky, cute 18 year old Stefanie Scott (read my interview with her here). Having jumped from the Disney Channel show A.N.T Farm to something a whole lot darker and more mature, the rising star really shows off her incredible acting talents here. Scott is a revelation! She really brings out a lot of emotion and you really do empathise with her. You can see the pain and terror her character Quinn's facing just by looking into her eyes. However, when the demon posses Quinn, Scott becomes a whole new person and she's nothing but a stone cold, soulless monster on-screen. You don't just fear for her, you actually fear her. Scott gives such a beautiful, magnificent performance.
At the helm of the project, overlooking everything was franchise scribe Leigh Whannell. With Insidious 1 and 2 director James Wan off playing with cars and making big bags of cash with Furious 7 (and soon Aquaman), the director's chair for this was empty so Whannell stepped up, making his first foray into directing with the threequel. Having worked with Wan on several occasions before and having penned screenplays to many other horrors - like Saw and Dead Silence - he certainly has a good knowledge on the genre.
As far as directorial debuts go, Whannell has done a remarkable job. Not only was he able to make a good, scary horror film but his direction was impressive too as he successfully managed to create a nice atmosphere of tension and make good use of his various filming locations too. He always keeps us on our toes and throws all sorts of surprises our way. He was also able to put the mistakes of the last film right and create a much darker, more harrowing Insidious than we've seen before. There's also some nice, subtle connections to the previous films to look out for. Leigh clearly knows what's he doing.
Of course, you can't have a horror film - let alone an Insidious instalment - without scares... and Insidious: Chapter 3 is the scariest of the 3 chapters. If you're not a fan of horrors, this isn't going to be the film that converts you to the genre. However, if you love a good scare them you're in for a real treat because this film is bloody terrifying! Whannell packs enough scares to keep us entertained and our hearts pounding (I thought I was going to have a heart attack at one point). There's the use of the conventional jump scares but the set-ups are clever and, even if you think you know what's coming, you're still going to squeal. It's a creepy film too and there's a lot of imagery and sequences that will fill you with relentless feat too. Oh, and just wait until you see the chilling reveal of the film's demon.
From things lurking in the shadows and popping out from corners to chilling terrors crawling towards you and a bone-rattlingly scary scene involving a laptop, this is a film bursting with scares and horrors. Things may slow down in the third act and the final shots weren't as great as the rest of the film but this is a good film, nonetheless. Insidious: Chapter 3 is the darkest chapter of them all. Good luck trying to get some sleep after seeing this.
Insidious: Chapter 3 is everything a good horror should be; tense, creepy and unnervingly scary. Leigh Whannel's directorial debut is mesmerising and chilling; the best (and scariest) this franchise has ever been. You won't sleep for days!
About the Author
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.