Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott and Angus Sampson
Running Time: 97 minutes
Release Date: June 5th
If you’ll allow us a moment to get self-aware, sometimes the most difficult part of being a film critic is assigning a numeric rating to a movie. And if you’ll allow us the time to get EVEN MORE self-aware, sometimes the most difficult part of being a film critic for State is assigning a numeric rating to a movie when faced with the finality of whole numbers from one to five. No halves. No grades. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. That’s your lot. Which proves to be something of an issue for a movie like Insidious: Chapter 3, perhaps the most two-and-a-half-out-of-five movie ever created.
All things being equal, let’s say that every film begins as a three out of five, and then impresses or depresses enough to raise or lower that score. Kicking things off, Insidious: Chapter 3 is a prequel, so we deduct a point straight off, as all prequels instantaneously do away with suspense, as we know certain characters survive to star in the eventual sequel/original film. With all of the background noise of widower Dermot Mulroney and his daughter Stefanie Scott being tormented by an evil ghost, this is really Lin Shaye’s film, telling the story of how her paranormal psychic becomes involved in ghost-hunting, and the fact that a big horror franchise is willing to put a 71 year old actress front-and-centre, and that lost point is added right back on.
Newbie director Leigh Whannell knows this universe quite well, having written and starred in the first two chapters, and is able to construct some good, creepy scenes, with more than a few jolt scares. Plus one point. Outside of the horror though, the dialogue he provides and the performances he gets from his cast (particularly from Mulroney, who is shockingly bad) is pretty lame. Minus one point. The plot moves forward with a relative lack of fussiness compared to the second chapter, which was so convolutedly bad it actually made its predecessor a worse movie. Plus one point. However, that lack of fussiness also results in the audience constantly asking “Why is this happening?”, especially when trying to figure out why the admittedly creepy ghost haunting the Mulroneys is even haunting them in the first place. Minus one point.
On and on it goes, adding and subtracting from its own quality every few minutes, resulting in the most middle-of-the-road horror film you’re ever likely to see. So there we have it. In the absence of half-points, this reviewer sees a pretty enjoyable two star film, whereas you might see a pretty disappointing three star film. Them’s the breaks.