Movie Review: ‘INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3’ Brings Chills Back to Franchise


Preston Barta // Editor

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 | 97 min | PG-13
Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Stefanie Scott, Dermot Mulroney, Lin Shaye, Hayley Kiyoko, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell and Michael Reid MacKay

Back in 2010, the first chapter of INSIDIOUS managed to pull off a rare thing in a genre over-saturated with jump-scares and gore: actually scare people. Before the film lost traction in its final third and turned into a POLTERGEIST knock-off, it contained more than enough scares to satisfy any fan of the haunted house sub genre. CHAPTER 2 (2013) followed the milestone of horror and returned to formula— the wrong formula. CHAPTER 3, thankfully, brings those effective chills back to the franchise.

At the end of CHAPTER 2, audiences got a taste of what CHAPTER 3 was supposedly going to be about. It showed that this franchise was going to go face-to-face again with the “Lipstick-Face Demon” from the first film. But you soon realize after the first few minutes of CHAPTER 3 that we are not going further into the Further with that particular creature. Instead, creator/writer (and now director) Leigh Whannell takes us on a different journey into the dark.

CHAPTER 3 is set before the haunting of Lambert family, when psychic Elise Rainier (the always great Lin Shaye) comes out of retirement to take on a case involving a parasite attaching itself to a 15-year-old girl named Quinn (Stefanie Scott).

Like the first chapter, Whannell uses a vulnerable protagonist to put the hook in its audience. While CHAPTER 1 followed Dalton, the young boy who laid defenseless in a coma, CHAPTER 3 sees us fearing for the life of the wheelchair-bound Quinn.

Lin Shaye returns to the Further as Elise Rainier. Photo courtesy of Gramercy Pictures.

Lin Shaye returns to the Further as Elise Rainier. Photo courtesy of Gramercy Pictures.

To be frank, CHAPTER 3 doesn’t offer anything new that we haven’t seen before. Granted, there are a few parts in here that cause you to question the intelligence of its characters– Why would you go down there? Why would do that? – kind of thing– but it has a creepy new villain, effective jump-scares and tension, and a decent enough story to engage audiences. Those scenes of tightness and strain are here, much like the James Wan-directed first chapter. While it may not have as much dread and suspense as we had hoped, it does manage to get under your skin.

There’s enough humor (especially from Whannell himself and Angus Sampson as the two gadget-savvy ghostbusters) and horror in CHAPTER 3 to satisfy fans of the franchise without focusing too heavily on one angle to make the other side feel awkward. It’s not as gratifying as CHAPTER 1, but it’s much better than the silly and cheap-looking CHAPTER 2, making it a worthy-of-your-time horror flick.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 is available on Blu-ray/DVD today.

Blu-ray Extras Include:

  • Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Stunts: The Car Crash
  • Cherry Glazerr: Tiptoe Through the Tulips
  • Macabre Creations
  • Origin Story: Making CHAPTER 3

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.