Thursday, 11 June 2015

Review: Insidious Chapter 3

World of Blackout Film Review

Insidious Chapter 3 Poster

Insidious Chapter 3
Cert: 15 / 98 mins / Dir. Leigh Whannell / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

And once again, a combination of the poorly-written screenplay that is my life, and a dearth of movies I haven't already seen at the cinema conspire to make World Of Blackout a pretty quiet place for the start of June. I'm sure you've all been out enjoying the weather, anyway. Truth be told, I could probably have wrangled out a couple of space-fillers, but I'd rather not waste my time and yours with content which appears to be relevant, yet is actually a clear case of cashing in on an existing wave of goodwill and momentum. Oh, speaking of which…

Yay! Insidious Chapter 3, the film that we didn't really need at all! The one without the central family that the first two films were written around! The one starring Lin Shaye, again, who got so impatient waiting to reprise her secondary-role as Creepy Old Lady that she went ahead and did it in Ouija to kill a bit of time between Insidii! Yay.

Yes, gone are Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins' Lambert Family, the supernatural-lodestones that drove the story up to this point, as this movie is a prequel. A prequel which could, in all honesty, be pretty much any other horror made in the last ten years were it not for the heavy-handed introduction of the supporting-cast of Insidious. An incredibly bog-standard haunted-house tale with sporadic appearances from Shaye's mystic ghostbuster, Elise ambles along amiably, if blandly for the first half.

As well as the reluctant medium, we get the beginning of her partnership with spook investigators Specs and Tucker, her moral support from Carl, the beginning of her ruck with The Bride In Black and even a brief appearance from Darth Maul In A Leotard. In fact, the second half of the film spends so much time shoehorning in characters from its earlier brethren that it forgets about the story it's supposed to be telling this time round. Characters who would usually be earmarked for third-act importance in any other flick of this type (Ashton Moio's prospective boy-next-door love interest, Phyllis Applegate's creepy/otherworldly elderly black woman stereotype) are completely abandoned by the script as Lin Shaye takes centre-stage and makes it All About Her Personally Now. Even the obligatory second-act plot-unravelling is glossed over as it's decided we don't really need to know anything about the central antagonist after all, because hey look, here's the spooky lady from the first film!*1

The sad fact (okay, opinion) is that Leigh Whannell's writing itself was what made Insidious and Insidious Chapter 2 so enjoyable. A bold-as-brass plot device to get as many types of ghost into the frame as possible, coupled with a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek script lifted the films above the standard manky old spectre chasing after a teenage girl in hotpants schtick. The sequel also enhanced the original as well as following it up, adding (and twisting) depth, and even filling in some of the gaps cheekily left by the original. Insidious Chapter 3 does none of this, unfortunately. It is to the plot of Insidious what Freddie's Nightmares were to A Nightmare On Elm Street. Utter, utter filler.

As contemporary horror films go, Insidious Chapter 3 is competently assembled, and it's certainly way ahead of certain other entries to the genre I could name. The jumps are there and so is the creepiness. But there's no spark this time around; it's a thinly veiled spin-off masquerading as a chapter…

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
In all honesty, it's not.

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
Oh, it's a DVD with the lights off. In all honesty, it'll probably work better as a triple-bill with its predecessors.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Well, this seems to be all that Lin Shaye really does, so who knows?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It achieves far, far less than the first two films.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
A little, yeah.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There ain't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Insidious Chapter 3 stars Stefanie Scott, who appeared in 2011's No Strings Attached as the young-iteration of Natalie 'Padmé' Portman's character, Emma.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Or man from the second film, even.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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