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Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/6/2015

All Ratings out of



Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/28/2015

In the event that you weren't aware, horror movies fans love to talk about horror movies...a lot. They talk about old movies, recent movies, upcoming movies, and often best of all, obscure movies. (There's nothing better than having seen a movie of which others haven't heard.) A question which is often bandied about is, "What is your favorite horror movie franchise?" This is a toughie, as scary film series are notoriously hit-or-miss? For example, Halloween is my favorite movie, but the rest of the entries in that series are a mixed-bag at best, so I can't say that it's my favorite horror franchise. In fact, I didn't realize that I had a solid answer to that question until I watched Insidious: Chapter 3, which proved that a franchise with consistent quality can be made.

Insidious: Chapter 3 takes place before the events of Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2. Teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) is going through a rough period. Her mother has recently died, which has created havoc at home, as her father, Sean (Dermot Mulroney), stressed, and Quinn now has to look after her little brother, Alex (Tate Berney). Quinn tries to focus on her dream of becoming an actress, but she finds it hard to devote the time. Missing her mother greatly, Quinn approaches psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) for help in contacting the deceased. Elise is reluctant at first, explaining that using her gift puts her at risk, but she eventually gives in and attempts to reach the deceased. Following this, Quinn is involved in a horrific accident which leaves her bedridden. This is unfortunate, as she soon finds herself being stalked by shadowy figures, some of whom attempt to hurt her. Sean is able to convince Elise to help and they soon learn that the psychic's warning was true -- "If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you."

For Insidious: Chapter 3, Director James Wan hands over the reins to series Writer Leigh Whannell, while Wan focused on directing Furious 7. (Really?) As Whannell is the co-creator of the series, the movie is in good hands, even if he is making his directorial debut here. For this entry, Whannell and Wan (who serves are producer and has a cameo in the movie) have taken a risk by brining us a prequel, especially since Insidious: Chapter 2 ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger. However, it's not difficult to guess at their motivation here, as setting the film in the recent past allows Elise to once again be a main character.

And, fans of the franchise need not fear, for it's clear that Whannell has been paying close attention as he worked with Wan on four films over the past decade. While he doesn't totally mimic Wan's style, Whannell brings us a movie which continues the Insidious tradition of creepy images and great jump scares. At first, things seem a bit dicey, as Insidious: Chapter 3 seems very slow to get started. But, this is simply Whannell toying with us. Just as my wife said, "Is anything going to happen in this movie?", a jarring event occurs and the film is off and running. Much like Insidious, Whannell packs the second act with one jump scare or creepy scene after another, showing that he is certainly no slouch in the fright department.

I can remember reading comments from several viewers who felt that Insidious fell apart in the third act, but I do not agree with that statement. But, Insidious: Chapter 3 does suffer that fate. It appears that while Whannell threw himself into directing the movie, he has let the script suffer somewhat. The main issues lies with the vague nature of the movie. The first two films went out of their way to explain what was going on. Here, we are simply told that a demon known as "The Man Who Can't Breathe" (played by Michael Reid MacKay) is out to get Quinn, but we never really learn why. The third act is simply a series of jumps and chases which are effective, but they could have been truly memorable had they been attached to a real story. And the finale...well, let's just say that it's surprisingly hackneyed.

Those issues aside, Insidious: Chapter 3 is still a winner and the best horror film that I've seen this year. It's got creepy visuals, some macabre ideas, and at least three classic jump scares. The most interesting thing about the film is that during the first act, it sets up the idea for another film in the series which, oddly enough, could act as a prequel to this movie. Normally, I would call this a cash grab, but the world needs more movies like those found in the Insidious series and I say keep them coming.

Insidious: Chapter 3 has a scene which orthopedists must hate on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, most notably reds, and while this is a dark movie, the image is never overly dark and the action is always visible. The level of detail is very good, as we can make out textures on objects and the depth works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.6 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo and surround effects work very well, most notably those which highlight sounds coming from off-screen. This really adds to the film's tension. The subwoofer is pounding and only drives home the jump scares.

The Insidious: Chapter 3 Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extra features. "Origin Story: Making Chapter 3" (19 minutes) is a fairly detailed featurette which examines several facets of the film. Through on-set footage (where we see that the shooting title was "Into the Further") and interviews with the cast and creative team. The piece focuses on the film's story and themes and how it links to the other movies. We also get a look at the cast and the film's approach towards horror. "Stunts: The Car Crash" (10 minutes) takes us on-set to examine the accident which debilitates Quinn, including a look at the preparation involved. "Macabre Creations" (9 minutes) shows us the thought which went into the look of the supernatural entities and the creation of the makeup. "Cherry Glazerr: Tiptoe Through the Tulips" (5 minutes) is an interview with a band who did a new version of the Tiny Tim song which was featured in Insidious. "Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks" (12 minutes) is an interview with psychic Michael J. Kouri, who talks about his work and actually shows us a spot where he's seen ghosts. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 5 minutes. These are brief and don't introduce any new characters or subplots.

Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long