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

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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

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.