Teenager, Quinn, is mourning the loss of her mother–a grief that isn’t just making it difficult to adapt to her family’s altered dynamics and her role within it, no, it’s leaving her open to something very nasty in her apartment block. A malevolent presence is stalking her and spiritual medium Elise might be the only one who can help her, yet in this installment we find that she is dealing with her own losses and trying to avoid a personal nemesis that is waiting for her to use her powers once again…
The awesome ‘Insidious’ just managed to follow-up on its impact and success with ‘Insidious 2’–but did ‘Insidious 3’ match or actually manage to better this?
Seeing Quinn call upon Elise, and finding our Elise–a great character–as a shut in was a nice hook prompting the audience to wonder at what’s happened to this person who has been the strength of the first two films. Yet the poor acting or writing–not sure which–between Quinn and her father caused me to question the quality of this sequel within the opening quarter. The film also offers us Quinn’s friend, little brother and potential love interest as characters and then doesn’t really do anything with them, sure, they’re used as a sounding board to flesh out Quinn, but it would’ve been nice to have seen them being threatened by the entity that began to make its presence felt. After all, this is a prequel–and has three characters that we know will survive into ‘Insidious 1’, so all the threat is carried upon the only two characters that have a role in the film–Quinn and her father.
You can tell that this isn’t going well for me. ‘Insidious 3’ initially does an effective job of delivering us another spiritual entity in the waving man in the oxygen mask haunting Quinn. He is a creepy-ass zombie looking guy in a hospital gown. Definitely the stuff of nightmares. And while he leaves his sticky foot prints throughout this film his effectiveness diminishes with each appearance. This isn’t a flaw of this film, the other installments suffered the same, largely because of the last third/quarter that each of film has in The Further. There’s something about this fantasy supernatural realm that just can’t match the intrusion of the otherworldly into our world.
The entity of this movie also lacks the defined presence and purpose the red faced demon of the first film, and the woman in black of the previous sequels had. Sure, this creature could influence people to kill themselves, but it wasn’t really explained how and we didn’t see any of that happen among the other residents–which would’ve given us a nice build-up and a greater sense of threat and made use of the neighbours who were kind of forgotten as the film went on. The appearance of the woman in black trying to kill Elise delivered some scares, which were decent enough but they also detracted from this film’s villain, and were empty threats because of the prequel nature of the movie.
It was great seeing Elise deal with her own personal tragedy and make a come-back as the ballsy Ghostbuster I know and love, and taking control of The Further in using the power of that realm against the breathing mask man was a nice touch. The best line of all three movies of the series was in this film when Elise stands up to the woman in black all juiced up on The Further mojo and goads her ‘Come on, Bitch!’. I wanted to clap. ‘Insidious 3’ serves Elise well, but it’s an indulgence on an untouchable character, one that we can’t invest much in knowing she’s going to survive this film, but die later, and one that takes time away from building this story.
Sadly the end of the film also left me a little cold. There was great potential in this plot, but it didn’t make it to the screen and I’d only give ‘Insidious 3’ 2 creepy houses out of 5 as a watchable horror which delivers a couple of scares, but fails to live up to either of its predecessors. I’m not sure we’ll get an ‘Insidious 4’ after this, but if we do, I hope they figure out a way to drive forward from the end of ‘Insidious 2’ with a spiritual Elise maybe paving the way for a better variation on a theme.
Have you seen it? What did you think?