Insidious Chapter 3 movie poster
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Insidious Chapter 3
Insidious Chapter 3 movie poster

Insidious Chapter 3 Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

The first Insidious was an incredibly scary, intense horror-thriller. Insidious: Chapter 2 was still scary, but fell apart in the second half. And now there’s the poorly titled Insidious: Chapter 3--poorly titled because it’s a prequel--that is more consistently moody but lacks the frights found in the other films.

Gone are Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, the starring roles shifted to Lin Shaye (the likable clairvoyant from the first two and Cameron Diaz’s wrinkled breasted roommate in There’s Something About Mary), newcomer Stefanie Scott and Dermot Mulroney, the latter two the subjects of the hauntings by a not-so-friendly demon looking for a sexy teenage body to possess.

More importantly, gone is also James Wan, who moved on to make a little film called Furious 7. Replacing him is longtime writing partner Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious), who by now knows the horror beats well enough but, as a first-time director, doesn’t necessarily know how to execute them.

Insidious: Chapter 3 is a retread of so many other horror movies and does little to break any new ground; as such, it’s incredibly predictable. Shifting the focus somewhat to Shaye’s character is not a terrible choice, but using her in a prequel that replicates the first movie only with less interesting characters and less scary situations is not.

The movie is easy to watch and more consistent than Chapter 2, wisely pulling back on the humor that killed the second half of that film. But Whannell is simply not as effective as Wan at building suspense; in both The Conjuring and Insidious, Wan established how using moments of silence and lingering camera shots to work the audience up can pay dividends--when done right, even a tricycle advancing a foot on its own can be scary. Whannell doesn’t botch the job, but Insidious: Chapter 3 proves he has a way to go before he can say he knows how to freak the shit out of people.

Insidious was great. Insidious: Chapter 2 was okay. Insidious: Chapter 3 is just more of the same, only much less scary.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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