I hope Blumhouse and James Wan quit while they’re ahead because so far, “Insidious” has been a strong trilogy of horror films. While the first is still the best, “Chapter 3” is a strong follow up that succeeds in creating its own level of terror and suspense, while also giving us the origin of Elise and her team of Tucker and Specs. Most prequels don’t normally work, but “Chapter 3” does, mainly because it doesn’t rely too strongly on foreshadowing to the first film. It includes a wink and a nod every now and then, but they’re thankfully used in moderation and with clever effect.
The “Insidious” movies really belong to Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, and Angus Simpson, as their characters manage to always find themselves dropped in the middle of a battle for someone’s soul, and most times they’re effective. I appreciate that the series hasn’t transformed them in to bad ass ghost hunters with pitch perfect precision. Through and through, the trio is flawed, and occasionally sloppy, but they get the job done. And by God, they enter in to every film with the best of intentions on helping people. Surely enough they’re always out of their league, even with the help of Elise. It’s interesting to view a horror series where our heroes are almost always outmatched. And unlike the “Paranormal Activity” movies, it’s good to see we have some good souls fighting the darkness.
Shaye is especially great as the paranormally inclined Elise, who is still grieving the death of her husband when we meet her this time around. Stefanie Scott gives a great performance as young Quinn, a young girl also grieving the death of a loved one: Her mother. So grief stricken is she that she’s attempted to contact her from beyond the grave, an action that Elise strongly advises against. When you call to one soul, she insists, all the others hear it, and occasionally you can bring something really horrible back. Sadly, Quinn’s efforts have aroused the attention of an evil entity that’s followed her back from the Further, and its hell bent on consuming her. Obstacles present themselves making Quinn’s fight even harder than ever, as she’s now bound to a wheelchair after a horrific car accident leaves her incapable of walking, let alone defending herself.
“Chapter 3” invokes a lot of “Rear Window” in where our protagonist is victim to pure evil due to the fact that their body is broken, allowing them to be in an even more vulnerable position than ever. The new villain of this installment derives some interesting scares and genuinely terrifying moments, proving that writer Whannell has yet to run out of good ideas. Quinn’s journey in to the throes of evil is gut wrenching and Scott is able to convey a lot of genuine terror and emotional turmoil as she struggles to come to grips with the death of her mother, only to stare in to the face of a monster. “Chapter 3” is a wonderful book end to the trilogy (No more “Insidious” movies, please) that unfolds with a beginning, an end, and a great epilogue, while also providing us with very empathetic horror heroes. If only all horror series were as complete as “Insidious” is.