Rental Review - Insidious: Chapter 3

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), PG-13, 97 minutes - In keeping with the scary movie theme of October, my wife and I rented this film Halloween night.  We've enjoyed the previous two films in the franchise and were curious to see if this one, released earlier this summer, would live up to its predecessors (my reviews for which can be seen here and here).

Insidious: Chapter 3 is a bit of a misleading title.  Yes, it is the third film from the franchise, but the story acts as a prequel for the prior films.  For all intents and purposes it is an origin story for for psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), and her paranormal investigating partners Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (writer/director Leigh Wannell).  If you have seen the other two Insidious films, you know they comprise the trio that helps the Lambert family with their paranormal problems.

In this film, Quinn (Stephanie Scott) visits Elise in an attempt to contact her recently deceased mother.  She explains that she feels what she believes to be her mother's presence around her but that she has been unable to make contact with her on her own.  Elise refuses to help, saying that she's retired and citing past trauma resulting from her previous psychic connections.  She sternly warns Quinn to not make any further attempts at contacting her mother on her own because of the danger of mistakenly making contact with something for more sinister.  Three guesses what Quinn ends up doing, and the first two don't count.  That's right, one night she believes that she hears her mother speaking to her and she begins to talk back, opening the way for something dark to use her as a bridge back to our world.  The next few days see Quinn experience a number of strange occurrences, including being hit by a car (breaking both legs) and later being violently pulled from her bed and dragged to a vacant apartment upstairs.  After these events, her father Sean (Dermot Mulroney) and brother Alex (Tate Berney) are concerned enough to begin looking for outside help.  Sean pays a visit to Elise, who is beginning to become concerned enough to consider coming out of retirement to help.  Alex's contribution is to suggest bringing in paranormal investigators that he's seen online - enter Tucker and Specs.  Not realizing the severity of what they are getting into Tucker and Specs jump at the opportunity to investigate.  As tends to happen in films like this, all hell breaks loose and they become true believers real quick.  That's when Elise intervenes and with her psychic abilities is able to help combat the evil entity that has been plaguing Quinn.    

Insidious: Chapter 3 focuses primarily on Quinn, but in telling her story it also shows us how the paranormal team of Elise, Tucker, and Specs first came together and more importantly how personal experiences and tragedy led to Elise's knowledge of The Further and willingness to help others combat it.  In my opinion this is the weakest of the three Insidious films, but that's not to say that it is bad.  On its own, this is a decent film and stands alone pretty well if you have no prior knowledge of the franchise (although I do recommend those two films if you enjoy the paranormal end of the horror spectrum).  For those that have seen the prior installments, this film provides a little background information for an integral supporting character.      

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