Insidious: Chapter 3 is a pretty bad movie. I didn’t really like Insidious or Insidious: Chapter 2 much either though, so if you liked those two films, you’ll probably like this prequel, written and now directed by Leigh Whannell. Whannell wrote the first two films, and because James Wan was busy making Furious 7, Whannell is making this third installment his directorial debut.
Okay, so Insidious is a really profitable franchise. True to the Blumhouse style of making movies, the original film was made for only a million and a half dollars and grossed nearly one hundred. Of course, that number doesn’t account for marketing, but that’s still a pretty great return on investment. Although all of the scares were mostly laughable in my opinion, it had some interesting imagery and utilized its budget relatively effectively. Insidious: Chapter 3’s budget is evidently nearly $10 million, and I have to wonder where the money went.
The story takes place a couple of years prior to the events of the first film. There’s a girl named Quinn, played by Stefanie Scott, and she misses her dead Mom. She tries to reach out to her dead Mom, but instead an evil spirit comes to try and kill her. There’s a lot of unnecessary exposition and then all of the demon hunters from the first two films come in and mediocrity ensues.
I spent much more time cringing at the non-scary moments of this film than I did at the scary moments. For a writer who claims to have made an effort to avoid cliches in the first film, there’s an unsettling amount of them here. Quinn has an annoying younger brother, an attractive but awkward guy who is desperately in love with her, and a sassy friend of another ethnicity. She has an audition for a theatre college and she’s super nervous about the results, and all of this faux character development goes on too long and you end up feeling like Quinn is less real than when she began. She gets hit by a car at one point. I laughed when she got hit by the car.
The performances are only okayish but the dialogue is just not good. Lin Shaye easily gives the best performance as Elaine Rainer, and she’s only decent. Generally, caring about the characters in peril is important to create good horror, and in this movie, the characters just aren’t developed enough to be cared about.
In all honesty, this movie feels like it belongs straight-to-DVD. If it didn’t have the Insidious franchise to back it up, I’m not sure it would have been released to theatres. The story is overly simple and every moment feels far too redundant. At times, it’s hard to watch. There were a few somewhat inspired shots, and a couple decent jump scares, but that’s about all I got out of it. At the end of the day, it’s not fun to sit through, and, just like the other films, it’s very forgettable. 2/10.