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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Insidious: Chapter 3 - A Prequel That Delivers Jolts but Misses Depth

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 of 5)

Released 06-05-2015

Watched 07-04-2023

Reviewed 07-11-2023

Watched on Amazon Prime Buy or Rent Now

"If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you."

Insidious: Chapter 3 marks a return to the spectral realm of

The Further, a journey we've come to anticipate with both dread and fascination from the franchise that has redefined modern supernatural horror. This installment takes us back in time, telling the story of Elise Rainier. While it delivers on atmosphere and jump-scares, it falls somewhat short of the emotional impact one might have hoped for.

This prequel centers around teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), who believes her deceased mother is attempting to communicate with her. In her search for answers, she seeks the assistance of psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), a character audiences have grown to love. Elise's reluctance to use her abilities due to a tragic past adds a new layer to her character, providing some of the film's most compelling scenes. Shaye's portrayal of Elise remains a series highlight, her presence a beacon of hope amidst the lurking dread.

Despite this, the film’s narrative seems less focused compared to its predecessors. Stefanie Scott delivers a decent performance as Quinn, a teenager grappling with loss while also fighting against a malevolent entity. Still, her character development lacks some depth, reducing the level of empathy viewers might feel toward her peril. Similarly, Dermot Mulroney, as Quinn's father, provides solid support, but the script doesn't offer him enough space to truly expand his character.

The entity itself, a demon craving human souls, does indeed provoke fear, particularly due to the eerie aesthetics and the chilling sound design. It's in these moments of raw terror that "Insidious: Chapter 3" truly shines. Director Leigh Whannell adeptly creates suspense and delivers the series' signature jump-scares, reminding us of what made us love "Insidious" in the first place.

While it serves as an interesting exploration of Elise's backstory and a decent addition to the franchise, "Insidious: Chapter 3" doesn't quite reach the same nerve-shattering heights as its predecessors. As a standalone film, it works, delivering enough chills and jumps to satisfy horror fans. But as part of the broader Insidious narrative, it's a step sideways rather than forward. However, it is still a recommended watch for those fans who are committed to seeing the entire saga. To watch the movies unfold in chronological order, start here with Chapter 3.

With the fifth movie now in theaters (July 2023), which is the actual sequel to Chapter 2, read our review of it here to see if the franchise returns to its roots and delivers the deeply affecting and creatively chilling horror that its fanbase has come to love and expect.

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