A Decent Prequel, But Is Losing It’s Scare Factor

Insidious 3

            Good morning my friends, today we’re going to take a stroll down horror lane, a genre that often doesn’t know when it is time to quit. Today we get to analyze Insidious III, a series that has provided decent scares over the last few years. But can a third installment continue the thrills, or has it reached the end of its life? As always, it’s my job to analyze, comment, and inform about whether or not this film is needed.

For fans of the series, Insidious does a decent job at spinning a tale that provides some meaning to the nightmares. This prequel veers from the Lambert family and takes focus on the Brenners, a broken family that is going through some tough times. In particular is Quinn (Stefanie Scott), a high school senior who is trying to move on with her life by auditioning for acting and trying to contact her dead mom… With the means for the ghost and the warning to not contact the dead, the Insidious III is a simplistic plot filled that exists mainly to open us up for scares. Quinn’s tale has some backbone and detail to it, but soon becomes diluted by the horror element with an occasional touching moment to develop character. All her supporting cast held shallow roles in this movie, most only involved to open up for a scary scene before falling through the cracks. Some of her issues and qualities are hastily developed, quickly addressed despite these issues dragging through the movie. The better story is Elyse’s (Lin Shaye), that provides some insight into her life including the origins of her abilities and relationships to the demons of the Further. Sure some of the elements are a stretch, and many provide more questions than answers that are sure to lead to another sequel.

Okay story is mediocre, but was it scary? For my friends who accompanied me, yes the movie is scary. Plenty of times during the movie they jumped out of their seats, occasionally screaming, at what emerged from the dark. Insidious III continues the trend of silhouettes outlined in shadow and the unholy sounds they make. I’ll admit the design team crafted some intense moments with this demon, giving him a serial killer edge that amped up the threat factor. Unfortunately that edge is lost some times with the Darth Vader like breathing that fit better with the Star Wars icon.

Yet the creepiness is only one piece of the scary pie. Insidious still provides those moments where something pops out at you, often accompanied by a loud sound of an orchestra pit blaring. You can see the scares coming from a mile away, the obvious tactics being used to set up for that moment that dilutes the scariness. In addition a lot of the scary scenes were shown in the trailer and by the time new scenes were shown, the tactics had lost their edge I was looking for. However, if you are one who jumps at every thing in a horror movie, then none of this matters and you will still have a good scare. I could go on about the technology aspects of the horror, but it is important to discuss the acting, a component that is essential for selling the terror.

Insidious’ cast plays to their strengths to keep the tale interesting and alive. The star is Shaye, who brings multiple aspects to a simple role. Shaye mixes terror with sass, confidence and humor to make Elyse one of my favorite horror characters. Some of her moments are a bit overdramatic for me, but I like the edge she brings to the part. Stefanie Scott was also good at her performance of the teen tormented by a stalker spirit. Her screams were not too overwhelming or annoying, and she sold me that she was in pain from the haunting. Even her darker moments impressed me as she captured the desolate energy of someone having their life drained and her makeup further accented the performance. As for the duo Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), they once more had their roles down. The ghost hunters were pure comedic relief, their clumsy incompetency helping relieve the tension of the “exciting” climax. Other characters did their roles justice, but were not involved in the film enough to really analyze.

Insidious III is a decent sequel that helps shed some light on the backgrounds of our ghost hunters, while opening up more questions. Fans of horror will find more than their share of scares in this film, but not as much as the first installment did all those years ago.   Is it worth a trip to theater? Not really, unless you are a major fan of the series, susceptible to scares, or simply just a horror fan. Otherwise leave it for a rent and enjoy being terrorized in your own house.

My scores for this sequel are:

Horror: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

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