Saturday, June 6, 2015


In 2010 a movie came along that shook us all with some of the most disturbing visuals put on film in years.  That movie was called Insidious and it not only resurrected the Tiny Tim song Tiptoe Through the Tulips, it resurrected the psychological horror genre itself.  Now, five years later, Insidious is officially a trilogy.  In all my years I don’t recall seeing a horror trilogy with three good installments.  That is to say, until now. 

                The movie is a prequel to the first Insidious chapter.  It features a young girl named Quinn, played by Stefanie Scott, who has just recently lost her mother.  There is a lot of obvious tension between Quinn and her father (Dermot Mulroney) who is also having a hard time dealing with the loss.  Feeling at the end of her rope, Quinn tries to contact her mother.  Unfortunately, when she calls out to mom, something else answers. 

                The issue that made me apprehensive about this film was the change in directors.  James Wan, a proven horror director throughout the past decade, is out and his longtime friend and writing partner Leigh Whannell is in.  I am pleased to say that Whannell is the surprise of this film.  Not only did he maintain in the role of director, but he excelled in it.  The direction here is a high spot.  This is a very well made horror film.  I was also worried that Whannell’s writing may suffer from his taking on extra responsibility, but I actually think this is the best screenplay of the franchise.  It is about as scary as the first two, but more focused and paced better than either one of those films.

                The tone of this film is what makes it.  It is the quietest movie I have seen in a while.  That fact lends itself well to suspense building, which Whannell does masterfully here.  The film is dark and intense and feels very similar to the previous two.  There are a few jump scares (no cheap ones) but most of the scares in the film are pulled off the hard way with long takes and good old fashioned artistic talent. 

                The film contains several very subtle and well done tie-ins to the first two Insidious movies.  This is something I hoped they would be able to do, but I was afraid they were going to force it.  This aspect of the film was handled very well and was probably one of my favorite things about the movie. 

                The acting in the film was another pleasant surprise.  I knew that Lin Shaye would be good and I am glad that she got an abundance of screen time in this one.  The Elise character is thoroughly fleshed out in this movie and Shaye is nothing short of brilliant.  She is even better than I expected her to be but the real surprise for me was Stefanie Scott.  You should keep an eye on this young lady.  She was terrific here in a role that was challenging, both emotionally and physically.  Dermott Mulroney did a good job as the father, who was the most interesting character to me.  Angus Sampson and, director Leigh Whannell are very entertaining once again as Tucker and Specs. 

                The last shot of this film is extraordinary, and it ends absolutely correctly.  The only real problem that I had however was that something about the climax just felt a little off.  It’s not a big thing, it just seemed a little too easy or something.  Don’t get me wrong, the ending is good, just not quite what I was hoping for. 

                I was very, VERY surprised by this film.  I loved it.  I cannot say enough for the job that Leigh Whannell did picking up where Wan left off.  This is a very good psychological horror film.  It’s not a perfect movie, but it is close.  The Movie Man gives it 4 out of 5 stars. 

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