Insidious: Chapter Three (2015) – Leigh Whannell

Writer Leigh Whannell who had penned the previous two entries in the Insidious series slips into the director’s chair for the third installment, which also serves as a prequel to the Lambert story that occupied the first two films.

The film introduces us to a small family living in the city. There’s Sean (Dermot Mulroney), daughter Quinn (Stefanie Scott), and Alex (Tate Berney). They are all, in their way, attempting to cope with the recent death of the matriarch of the family. As the father, Sean is attempting to do the best he can, but Quinn, on the verge of high school graduation, and seeking some guidance, finds herself calling out to the memory (ghost?) of her mother for help.

But if you call out for one amongst the dead, they all can hear you.

Or at least that’s what Elise (Lin Shaye) tells Quinn when she comes to her for help. At this point in her life, Elise has stepped away from readings and the paranormal, but she is inexorably drawn back into it, even though it means she may have to confront her own pain and tragedy.

And along the way, she may be joined by a pair of burgeoning ghost hunters, running a website called Spectral Sightings, enter Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson).

It will take all their combined strength and that of the family that is being haunted to help Quinn, as she slowly succumbs to a powerful demon that stalks the hallways of their apartment building, its vents, and its rooms.

Whannell’s story doesn’t feel as layered as the previous films, and the way Elise and the boys fit together at the end of the story seems a little too neat, but it’s obvious that working with James Wan on the previous films informed his visual style. This chapter fits very easily into the established continuity of the Insidious universe. It also works to tie in its narrative as well with a couple of familiar appearances in the Further.

Over the years, I’ve really grown to enjoy these films, especially the interactions of Elise, Specs and Tucker. Perhaps because I’ve often imagined what it would be like investigating things like they do in the film series.

I also really enjoy the fact that so far in the series continuity is really important within the established universe. That aids in the enjoyment of each sequel, seeing how pieces fir together, where things lead, or where they originated.

The effects are solid, moving from really creepy images to the expected jump scares.

The series isn’t going to win any awards, but damned if they aren’t entertaining. I’ll happily dig into the next volume, The Last Key, in a week’s time. Let’s see what happens with Elise and the rest then.

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