In the wake of my recent disappointment with the ‘Poltergeist’ remake (reviewed below), I wasn’t sure if I’m ready to jump into another like-minded PG-13 ghost story in the same James Wan tone and style. Regardless, like the ever dutiful critic I marched into the theatre for the third chapter of the ‘Insidious’ saga which began back in 2010 about the Lambert family and their unfortunate run-in with the forces of supernatural evil. 97 minutes later I’m happy to say that ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ wiped off the bad taste in my mouth left by ‘Poltergeist 2015.’
I:Ch3 is not a sequel but a prequel along the ‘Insidious’ timeline and focused on a different family, in this case a struggling single father (Dermot Mulroney) whose wife recently died and his two kids, the elder of whom is the teenage Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) who’s targeted by a malevolent spirit from "the beyond" sporting a breathing mask and sounding a bit like Darth Vader who’s after (what else?) her soul. Coming to her aid against this insidious presence are characters ‘Insidious’ fans should be familiar with: the grandmotherly spiritual “medium” Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and the nerdy online ghostbusting duo of "Specs" (Leigh Whannell) and "Tucker" (Angus Sampson). Leigh Whannell pulled triple duty as the film's director and writer in addition to playing "Specs."
While I:Ch3 isn't exactly groundbreaking or offered anything particularly new, the story is nonetheless engrossing and the key characters are interesting enough to make I:Ch3 a solid addition to the ‘Insidious’ franchise. And unlike most franchises, ‘Insidious’ also managed to get better with each new installment. That’s a phenomenon strange and supernatural in itself.