The scariest part of the Insidious series for me has always been the opening credits. During the first film this was because of the shrill and booming music that rings through your ears and from that point on because I was going to have to sit through another 90+ minutes of the same old shit. ‘All you ever do is complain about modern horror!!’- says everyone about me. The issue here being that I have too much hope, for someone so miserable I am a very keen optimist always seeking out the best and I go to the cinema in hopes of something new, but I’m just very regularly let down. Insidious has been one of the more promising franchises of recent years, with a keen visual eye and more original plot elements than the likes of Paranormal Activity, but it still doesn’t push past the downfalls of its theatrical release horror buddies. ‘Downfalls’ in this case coming from an avid horror fan who can tell you exactly what camera angle or tracking shot will lead to what scare coming from what direction. Insidious 3 promised bigger and better scares than anything previously, so I hoped to be caught out.
Set before the events of the first film, Chapter 3 centres around a young girl named Quinn whose mother has passed away. Quinn is keen to contact her mother through the use of a psychic, Elise, a role reprised by the brilliant Lin Shaye as the most redeeming and interesting character of the film. Elise fleshes the film out with a quick wit, warm heart, a brilliant ‘fright face’ and an emotional side as she deals with the loss of her husband. Without Elise, this film would not hold its own, with a relatively bare ‘scream queen’ performance from Stefanie Scott as Quinn, but with uninteresting material, what’s the poor girl to do?
Through this spiritual contact, Quinn is plagued by an evil spirit from the ‘further’ world who is trying to inhabit her body. To make things even more difficult for her, and waaaay easy for the screenwriters, she also has two broken legs because of a car accident when she seen a vision for the first time. No ability to walk means easy scares and a cheap, nail-biting thrill as she struggles to get away with each encounter which was at both times satisfying and annoying. As is protocol, Quinn’s situation gets even creepier and Elise must enter the further world to find Elise’s ‘real’ self and return her to her body before the evil spirit takes over completely.
The’ further’ world always has been my favourite part of the Insidious series and this case was no exception. The cinematography and aesthetic feel of these films is what drew me in in the first place; the murky ‘further’ world reminds me of Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and the Suspiria-esque-lighting illuminates the shrieks on the characters faces much more than your regular horror outing. But on the other hand, this gorgeous lighting did nothing but distract and hides some terrific character design in the ‘further’ world; think Silent Hill and you’ll be in the right vein. I know that leaving things to the imagination is a beneficial tool but when you’re relying so heavily on jump scares, seeing these deformed and abused creatures would have thrown a lovely bit of spice into the mix. Never being one to shy away from references, Insidious parades these likenesses around the screen like a small child with a drawing going ‘mummy, look at what I can do’, just a shame that these homages don’t seep into the fear factor of the film, more it’s visual appeal.
With a trailer that delivered some serious chills, but also gives away 90% of the scares, this horror flick is better to see on a whim. Whilst it’s better than the second film, it can’t quite live up to the shocking horror of its original and solidified ‘Tiptoe through the Tulips’ as one of the most terrifying songs ever.
By Chloe Leeson
Chloe Leeson is 19 and from the north of England (the proper north). She believes Harmony Korine is the future and is pretty sure she coined the term ‘selfie central’. She doesn’t like Pina Coladas or getting caught in the rain but she does like Ezra Miller & Dane DeHaan a whole lot. Her favourite films are The Beach, Lords of Dogtown and Into the Wild. But DON’T talk to her about Paranormal Activity. She rants @kawaiigoff.