Director: Leigh Whannell
Insidious 3 introduces a partly new cast, and it’s also the point where the timeline starts to get kind of confusing. Without any further ado, let’s jump in.
The third edition in the Insidious series brings a new location, a new family, and new stories centred in the same universe. Like the previous 2 movies, Elise is involved, creating this connection between the new story and the old one. If you have seen the first two movies, you know the first takes place in the present day, the second is partially after that and partially when Josh Lambert was a child. The third falls somewhere in the middle of the second movie, before the events of Insidious, but still at a point where Elise is quite old.
Insidious 3 is worth watching, even if it isn’t a highlight for the series. The movie brings a new story that brings a new vibe to the series. The horror elements are very similar to the first two movies, relying a lot on atmosphere to create scary moments. It’s a pretty decent watch and worth checking out.
The biggest thing missing from Insidious 3 is terror. The plot is pretty alright, our characters are really good, and I thought the cinematography was really good. We don’t have a bunch of interesting lore propping this movie up. It starts to drift into “scary to be scary” territory, which is disappointing to see. I loved seeing scary demons or ghosts that had a messed up back story. Instead of just being terrified, you are also interested in where the movie is going.
I didn’t feel that way about Insidious 3. I was interesting in our characters and their well-being, but I didn’t care for the plot. The real-world plot was okay, but the spiritual world felt really rushed this time around. Elise and the crew get involved, and our new family deals with this demon haunting them. All of that is fine and dandy, but there isn’t much developed surrounding our demon. Why is it haunting this family? Why does it haunt people in the way that it does? It scary, but without the harrowing backstory, it lacks true terror.
Insidious 3 just isn’t as scary as the previous two editions, and I didn’t like the lack of development for our “villain”. With that being said, this is still a decent movie. I thought the plot was slim, but if focused a lot on our characters. Even if the main demon was pretty lame, I thought our human characters were great. Quinn Brenner, our lead, is a teenager girl facing a variety of issues that make her a potentially relatable character. Finding a school, chasing her dreams, raising her brother, dealing with the loss of her mother, among other things.
Her dad, Sean Brenner, has yet to recover from the loss of his wife, and struggles to balance his life. Their relationship is at wits-end as they both try to deal with their own personal issues. Sean is only half-present, and this causes his daughter a ton of stress. Stefanie Scott puts on a great performance, one that moves through a lot of different emotions. It’s a big role, and she crushes it. Dermot Mulroney plays the concerned father quite well, handling two sides of the same coin with ease. Sean goes from half there to throughly concerned quite quickly, and Mulroney is believable in both roles.
I loved the character development in Insidious 3, undoubtably the high mark of the movie. Nearly every character grows and changes as the movie goes on, and they grow in ways that make sense. It’s not always pleasant, but changes do occur and our characters are much different people by the end. The growth and the growing pains are done really well, and it adds another layer of realism to this movie. Quinn is a totally different person, understandably so, but it doesn’t come fast or easy.
The cinematography in this series continues to be top notch. I love the dedication to physical props and stunts, as it helps the movie feel real. The scary atmosphere is well done, and the score is awesome per usual. This movie really needed a scary villain to hit it’s stride, but I felt the atmosphere was still up to par. The Further is still terrifying, how the writers and crew continue to dream up scary, minor characters that we meet for half a second I will never know.
Insidious 3 has promise, but misses the mark where it matters most. Our characters are great, but the main villain lacks any kind of meaningful backstory, and this creates a plot that feels hollow. The movie struggles to keep up the fast, intriguing pace without the fuel it so desperately needs. The bar has been lowered for Insidious 4, but most of the elements that made the first two movies great are still hanging around.