Once again combining a sense of genuine dread with a mischievous vein of humour, Insidious Chapter 3 successfully closes the trilogy with its beginning.
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As a vehicle for Shaye, a veteran character actress getting the most screen time she’s ever been given, it’s a blast to watch her anchor this atmospheric look at the personal costs and triumphs of devoting your life to duking it out with nasty presences from the other side.
There's nothing particularly wrong with the ghost story itself. It makes sense, there's an internal logic to the way things happen, and Whannell does his best to keep a certain pace up so there are near-constant ghost attacks punctuated by scenes of the characters trying to figure out how to handle them. Quinn's just not a very interesting character.
In lieu of advancing a view of the dead's dominion that doesn't abide by the law of "just becauses," Chapter 3 is often content to wink at the ways the first two films spooked audiences.
Insidious co-creator Leigh Whannell’s economical script vividly reimagines Elise’s motivations for using her “gift” to aid the demon-afflicted while providing a clearer plotline that avoids many of the convoluted indulgences of the first and second episodes.
The first two films faltered in their final act, and Chapter 3 experiences some of that as well, though it never achieves their heights. There are some nice scares, but a few formerly central characters are basically forgotten in favor of wrapping things up.
Whatever else Whannell, making his directing debut, manages in this third chapter of this soon-to-be-beaten-to-death series, casting Shaye and giving the actress who dates back to the original “A Nightmare on Elm Street” her due pays off.
Whereas Wan (who retains a producer credit here, and makes a cameo appearance) is the sort of director who can effortlessly turn a billowing curtain or creaking floorboard into an unbearable portent of dread, Whannell rarely makes the neck hairs quiver, let alone stand at attention.