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Insidious: Chapter 3 - Review

Insidious Chapter 3

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

BY writer-director Leigh Whannell’s own recent admission, third films are notoriously difficult beasts to pull off. And so it proves with Insidious: Chapter 3, a wholly derisory horror experience that feels like a pale imitation of the much-loved original.

A prequel of sorts, this latest instalment focuses on gifted psychic Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye, reprising her role from the first two instalments) and how she came to be involved in fighting demons in the first place. Hence, after being visited by timid teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), Elise reluctantly agrees to help when a dangerous supernatural entity threatens the girl’s wellbeing.

As with the first film, this places a seemingly normal family in extreme peril as they experience a series of creepy happenings around their home, all designed to unsettle viewers by playing on fears of things that go bump in the night.

And, just like the first film, it then segues into an alternate supernatural realm, in which an innocent victim is taken captive and must await a brave fighter to retrieve them.

But therein lies one of Insidious: Chapter 3‘s many problems…. by attempting to revert back to the formula that first made the franchise possible, it feels like a lazy re-tread in which the law of diminishing returns really takes effect.

More simply put, there’s nothing new here. Supposed insights into Shaye’s Elise Rainer are slight at best, given the film’s focus on the new family in peril, while the set-ups feel obvious and are too often repeated.

Admittedly, there are one or two moments to make you jump (usually with the assistance of sound effects) but even these feel cheap when compared to the best that the genre can offer. But there’s nothing to really unsettle in the way that the first film really did.

A belated appearance by Whannell and Angus Sampson, reprising their roles as light relief ghost hunters Specs and Tucker, does manage to inject some knowing humour into proceedings but – again – the film could have used more of their presence and fails to reveal anything really new or worthwhile about them.

While the film’s main victim, played by Scott, conforms a little too easily to the tried and tested damsel in distress and feels like more of a clich√© that a truly rounded character. It’s a failing that Whannell, as both writer and director, has to shoulder.

With all things considered, Insidious: Chapter 3 is a wholly disappointing horror experience that feels like a waste of everyone’s time and effort. It’s time to close the book on this one.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 97mins
UK Release Date: June 5, 2015