Friday, October 2, 2015

Effective Jump Scares, True Terror Abound in "Insidious 3"

I watch a lot of horror films as a reviewer of the genre. One of my favorite classifications to dig into are of the supernatural variety. There are a couple different directors who are the champions of the modern subgenre that come to mind. Scott Derrickson has successfully carved out his niche with the "Sinister" movies. The one man who continues to amaze me over and over again with consistent quality and genuine frights is James Wan. His movies are made up of all the right ingredients of a classic supernatural horror outing. Now there's a new directorial talent in town and his name is Leigh Wannell.

Thanks to James Wan's inability to direct because of his commitments to "Furious 7," Writer /Director Leigh Whannell gets his chance at the helm of "Insidious Chapter 3." Previously, he had only written the last two entries in the series. He proves he can handle the pressures of dual responsibility in spades here. Classic horror movie build-up is combined with the jump scares we've all become accustomed to. However, the whole experience comes together unnervingingly wonderful when blended together with a shrieking soundtrack and cleverly placed bumps in the night.

When teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) senses that her late mother is trying to contact her, she seeks help from gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). However, Elise's tragic past makes her reluctant to use her abilities. After Quinn is attacked by a malevolent entity, her father (Dermot Mulroney) pleads with Elise for help. With support from two parapsychologists, Elise ventures deep into The Further -- where she finds a powerful demon with an insatiable craving for human souls in “Insidious Chapter 3.”

Lin Shaye shines again as psychic Elise whose lot in life is to face off against demon after demon in a never ending crusade against evil. It's amazing how what was at once just a supporting role has become the thread that holds the “Insidious” films together. Whether audiences know it or not, Shaye's character really has become the main focus, much like Anakin Skywalker is in the Star Wars" saga. It might seem indirect at first glance, but upon closer investigation anyone will pick up on it.

One thing that both bothered me and left me smiling was the origin of the evil presence, or I guess I should say lack thereof in “Insidious Chapter 3.” There's no real backstory given for him. I was left wondering where he came from and why he was doing what he did. Although a good movie always leaves you wanting more, I wanted to know more right then!

"Insidious Chapter 3" is rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements. I found the movie to be very intense and the anticipation factor to be almost unbearable. If you’re not used to these types of films, this one will scare you to death. I watch horror and slashers all the time and still found it entertainingly disconcerting.

There are many elements Christians will find offensive and contrary to the Bible in “Insidious Chapter.” The film centers on many taboo subjects like astral projection, psychic phenomenon, and contact with the dead. I watch movies like this from the standpoint of it being just for entertainment. Some people aren't okay with that and should be forewarned. What I took away from the movie was the lessons that family stand together through thick and thin and that evil never truly goes away, it just moves on. It's our job to keep it away from us.

The DVD version of “Insidious Chapter 3” includes only one special feature. A behind-the-scenes featurette entitled “Origin Story: Making ‘Chapter 3” is found. It gives viewers background on the making of the movie through on-set footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

"Insidious Chapter 3" is the perfect example of a horror film done right. In an age where jump scares have all but lost their edge, Writer / Director Leigh Whannell finds ways to make them work in well-placed and nerve-wracking instances that make you feel like you're trapped in a haunted house with no way to get out. Somehow you know the moment is coming, but it still catches you off guard when it arrives. There's a new master of supernatural horror and “Insidious Chapter 3” is his first magnum opus.

"Insidious Chapter 3" is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.