Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) – Review

Not today!” Elise shouted.

In 2010, Leigh Whannell and James Wan teamed up to rejuvenate horror genre in Insidious (2010)—a sleeper hit that makes horror films something people always wait for. Since then, Insidious grew as a franchise with Chapter 2 (2013) continuing the original and, finally, Chapter 3 serving as a prequel to its predecessors. In Chapter 3, Wan no longer took the director’s chair, leaving Whannell took liberty to his property. Therefore, there might be differences, but the question is: is this a necessary prequel?

Like the previous two films, Chapter 3 threw horror inside some unlucky families. Only, it stepped further back before the Lamberts to two interconnected stories from two important characters. Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) asked help from Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) to contact her late mother who died a year and a half ago; only to find out that Quinn’s a target of an insidious entity as well as reveal something from Elise’ past that haunted her all along.

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As usual, Whannell knew pretty well how to optimize his properties into a good, compact narrative—making use of what he had invented in the previous Insidious and putting them all in a bowl, then adding a villainous entity to wrap them all. I must admit, the drama works as a catalyst of this slow-burned (and quick-extinguished) horror, highlighting love-loss and grief as a nearly solid theme and motivation.

Consequently, Chapter 3 lost some high amount of its Insidious element to scare. No trace of Wan’s typical atmospheric horror that haunts with solid narrative as well as prominent camera work found; what’s left was merely some graphic horror and jump scare moments that work temporarily. Further, the plot doesn’t give immediate urgency to its main conflict—just playing ‘postponing’ that felt a little less important; and more, it added nothing to the whole canon but some uneven background to Elise—with scene-stealing performance by Shaye.

Although the film devised abundant references to the original story (plus some anecdotes and inside-jokes that only Insidious viewers would understand; even James Wan’s cameo) also strong performance by Lin Shaye, Chapter 3 couldn’t top the predecessors in terms of visuals or story. As a stand-alone or a spin-off, this film might work not in a shameful way; but as a part of Insidious canon, it only serves as a decent prequel, but not a necessary one.

VERDICT: If Insidious franchise was a new house, the first two installments were all the important furniture; while Chapter 3 was only an additional furniture (like rug or painting) to make the house looks vintage. It’s good as a spin-off, but unnecessary as a part of the canon.

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

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Horror, Drama Written & Directed by: Leigh Whannell Starred by: Dermot Mulroney, Lin Shaye, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell Running Time: 97 mins Rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements

IMDb | Official Site


Pada tahun 2010, Leigh Whannell dan James Wan berkolaborasi untuk meremajakan genre horror dalam Insidious (2010)—film mengejutkan yang menghadirkan kecintaan orang-orang pada genre itu kembali. Sejak saat itu, Insidious berkembang menjadi franchise dengan Chapter 2 (2013) yang melanjutkan kisah film pertamanya, dan kini, Chapter 3 sebagai prekuel untuk keduanya.

Dalam Chapter 3, Wan tidak lagi menjadi sutradara karena bentrokan jadwal dengan syuting FF7-nya, meninggalkan Whannell mengolah propertinya sendiri. Perbedaan pasti akan ada, tapi pertanyaannya justru: apakah prekuel ini perlu?

Seperti kedua pendahulunya, Chapter 3 melemparkan horror ke dalam keluarga sebagai sub-temanya. Tapi kali ini, kisahnya mundur jauh sebelum kisah keluarga Lambert, dengan 2 cerita yang saling berkaitan dari 2 karakter berbeda. Quinn Brenner (Scott) meminta bantuan Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye)—versi lebih muda dari yang di Insidious—untuk menghubungi ibunya yang telah meninggal satu setengah tahun yang lalu. Namun yang terjadi justru Quinn menjadi target suatu makhluk jahat dan Elise membuka masa lalunya sendiri yang akan berhubungan dengan masa depannya.

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Seperti biasa, Whannell tahu pasti cara mengoptimalkan propertinya menjadi suatu kisah yang compact—menghadirkan kembali semua properti yang pernah diciptakannya, menyatukannya dalam satu kerangka, lalu menambahkan satu makhluk jahat sebagai bungkus semua itu. Saya akui dramanya berfungsi cukup baik sebagai katalis untuk horror lambat panas (dan cepat padam) ini dengan cara menitikberatkan “rasa kehilangan” sebagai tema dan motivasi yang cukup solid.

Konsekuensinya, sebagian besar kengerian khas Insidious tereduksi. Horror yang atmospheric a la James Wan hilang tak berbekas—tanpa kengerian di balik narasi yang solid dan pergerakan kamera yang prominent. Yang tersisa hanyalah beberapa graphic horror dan jump scare yang cukup mengagetkan tapi efeknya sementara. Ditambah lagi, plotnya tidak memberi urgency pada konflik utamanya—hanya menunda-nunda dengan cara yang agak usang (agar penonton geregetan). Hingga akhirnya, film ini tak menambahkan apapun dalam canon Insidious selain hanya sekelumit latar belakang bagi kisah Elise—dengan penampilan Lin Shaye yang mencuri perhatian.

Meskipun film ini menampilkan banyak referensi dari dua film Insidious sebelumnya (termasuk inside jokes dan kameo James Wan) serta penampilan mengejutkan Lin Shaye, Chapter 3 tak mampu melampaui predesesornya dalam hal visual maupun kisah. Sebagai stand-alone atau spin-off, film ini lumayan menghibur; tapi sebagai bagian canon Insidious, film ini bukanlah prekuel yang penting.

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