Actors: Stefanie Scott, Dermot Mulroney, Angus Sampson, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell
Director: Leigh Whannell
Producers: Jason Blum, Oren Peli
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018
Run Time: 97 minutes
I’m not sure I understand how a film titled “Chapter 3” can be considered a prequel to the first two chapters, though this is not nearly as disappointing as the lack of ambition within the narrative. While it does an adequate job capturing the essence of what made the first two films successful, the thrills and entertainment feel far more obligatory than they did under the direction of James Wan. Longtime horror collaborator and screenwriter Leigh Whannell gives his first attempt at directing after years of providing the scripts for Wan, but it simply feels like he is attempting to imitate this style rather than establishing a voice of his own.
By making the narrative a prequel, Insidious: Chapter 3 becomes something of an origin story for the ghost hunting team from the first two films, while also providing a new haunting and victimized innocent family. When teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) attempts to contact her deceased mother’s ghost, she accidentally opens the door between her world and The Further. Her father (Dermot Mulroney) is helpless as an evil spirit terrorizes Quinn, until they enlist the aid of reclusive psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and a pair of goofy ghost hunters from a web series (Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell).
There is very little new to the narrative, with the focus remaining on cheap scares and eerie atmosphere. Sometimes this works, if only because the pace doesn’t let up, but it never has the ability to evoke the same emotional reaction as the previous installments. While the past films built upon the tension, allowing release with moments of humor, Chapter 3 lacks that natural ebb-and-flow. Moments near the beginning of the film are far more successful, if only because the horror is hinted at rather than the overkill treatment near the end. Whether it is a feeling of familiarity or simply a case of too much where less might have been more effective, the film loses impact in the final act.
The Blu-ray release of Insidious: Chapter 3 comes with a handful of exclusive extras, from additional footage and behind-the-scenes featurettes to a discussion of the paranormal themes within the film by a professional psychic medium. There is a featurette for the stunts, the special effects, and even an interview by Stefanie Scott with the band Cherry Glazerr, who contributed music to the film. Also included (and available on the DVD release) is a making-of featurette that looks at the overall themes of the franchise.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 3/10