Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

*. Hm. This movie is a prequel to the two previous Insidious movies, and yet it’s Chapter 3. Does that make sense? Shouldn’t it be Insidious: Prologue?
*. Whatever you want to call it, this third instalment in the franchise delivers, yes, more of the same. We’ve moved on from the unhappy Lambert family but we still have the maternal psychic Elise (Lin Shaye), who was killed at the end of Chapter 2 in a manner that is foreshadowed in this film. And we have the two bumbling spook hunters Tucker and Specs (the latter played by Leigh Whannell, who also wrote and directed). So the gang’s all here.
*. I’d like to say I enjoyed this more, but really it’s just a retread of the other films. The final act plays out in an identical manner, with Elise entering the Further to rescue some innocent victim from a demon. How many times can they keep going back to the same well? Given all the repetition I didn’t come away feeling much of anything.
*. Part of the problem might be with the fact that this is a prequel, and hence we aren’t that worried about anything bad happening to Elise or her assistants. The sense that there’s nothing much at risk also allows the film to take a more comic tone, which is usually a sign that a horror franchise has passed its expiry date.
*. This is too bad. Most of the movie was decent enough. There’s an over-reliance on jump scares, but I was finally warming to the trio of paranormal investigators. I’m not sure they’d be the first people I’d call if I needed help getting rid of ghosts or demons, but they seem nice.
*. There did, however, seem to be something incomplete about the whole thing. Characters are introduced (Quinn’s gal pal and the boy next door who is in love with her) but then dropped without any explanation. There’s no back story for the demon (The Man Who Can’t Breathe) explaining who he is or what his motives are. One supposes we’ll be filled in at some later date (that is, in a sequel), but leaving such a matter up in the air felt lazy.
*. The critical response was lukewarm. Box office, however, was spectacular again (though I believe this was the poorest performing instalment in the franchise). What more can you say? Creatively Chapter 3 gave me the feeling that the concept was thoroughly played out, but of course that has never stopped a Hollywood money train from rolling.

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