If you haven’t seen the first two Insidious films, don’t worry; Chapter 3 is a prequel. In fact, due to the rule of prequels (any character alive in the original can’t die in the prequel) you might actually be better off not seeing them. This isn’t the movie’s fault, but it’s a bit hard to worry about a character getting choked when you know she’s going to be fine.
That being said, the Insidious franchise continues to be the only horror vehicle that gets me legitimately scared. Leigh Whannell, writer of the previous Insidious films, steps into the director’s seat and manages to constantly surprise and startle the audience. Whannell takes his time and builds an overwhelming sense of dread, similar to the original Paranormal Activity. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we want from a horror movie? Well… not quite.
While technically impressive, the movie suffers from poor performances. It’s strange that the protagonist is actually more believable possessed by a demon than she is as a normal teenager. Her dad isn’t much better, and her little brother makes me root for the demon. Whannell himself, along with his cohort from the first films, are the only two characters worth watching in the movie, and their entrance comes two-thirds of the way through the film. By that time, I had already checked out.
All in all, Insidious: Chapter 3 is a fun, scary movie. Sadly, that’s all it is. Whannell’s directorial debut is promising, but hopefully in the future he puts as much effort into working with the actors as he does working on the scares.
Quick Review: If you’re looking for a movie to scare the pants off of you, Insidious: Chapter 3 is for you. If you’re looking for anything else, look elsewhere.