Monday, 8 June 2015

REVIEW - INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 (LEIGH WHANNELL)


Commercial concerns hang heavy over Insidious: Chapter 3, or at least over those who watch the film. This is product made with 'what people want' in mind, or rather what people think they want, and by people who are entirely prepared to give it to them. A legitimately scary film for much of its runtime, Insidious: Chapter 3 succumbs to the deficiencies in its filmmakers' talents in the end, allowing its flaws to overwhelm its attributes. Still, franchise rot hasn't quite settled in here - in fact, Chapter 3 is arguably the strongest film in its series, largely due to a keener focus on scares, a leaner one on story. Although its technique is wholly unoriginal, Leigh Whannell's film mines considerable heft out of its hauntings, focusing on a few singularly unsettling details in its design to maximise its scariness. The film is silly and unsubtle, but mostly successful in this regard - it's in other aspects, many of them shamefully basic, that it comes up short. The scripting is predictably trite, and no more forgivable for being so predictable, and strives toward levels of comedic quality that are completely beyond it. That the screenplay offers the cast little assistance is beside the point when considering their collective inadequacy, since they fail to convince even when silent - at one point, Lin Shaye is even outacted by a lantern. All of these flaws, and an additional one in the film's egregious appropriation of textbook psychobabble as genuine emotional profundity, bring down a finale that ought to have been the almighty climactic spook to top all of those that preceded it. None of this lessens the impact of the earlier scares in Insidious: Chapter 3, nor the film's quality as a pure horror film in its first half; simply, I wish the film had continued in such a vein.