No Ordinary Family
Saw writer returns to the Further for a paranormal prequel
Horror sequels often suffer from the law of diminishing returns. After all, there are only so many times a make- up- caked spook can leap out of the shadows before scares turn into yawns. Insidious: Chapter 2 was different – a horror sequel that was madder, more unsettling and in many ways better than its predecessor. But rather than rest on its laurels, the series is shaking things up with a threequel that delves into the past featuring a new family, a new entity and a very much alive paranormal investigator Elise Rainier.
“We’re going back before the first film and meeting Elise at a very different stage of her life,” writer/ director Leigh Whannell tells Red Alert. “She’s this amazing psychic who has hung up her spurs and is living as a hermit after losing her husband. She’s drawn back into the world of the supernatural by a young girl called Quinn who has lost her mother to cancer and is desperate to get in touch with her.”
Insidious stood out in a crowded market thanks to its distinctively batty, Gialloinspired otherworld the Further, where tortured souls ensnare anyone with the ability to enter their realm. Set three years before the first Insidious, the film focuses on the Brenners, who find themselves terrorised by a demon known only as The Man Who Can’t Breathe. “Quinn ( Stefanie Scott) is at a crossroads in her life after the death of her mother. She’s a lost soul, which makes her vulnerable,” Whannell says. “She has a dad ( Dermot Mulroney), who’s busy trying to raise two kids, but they’ve been dysfunctional since they lost the deep anchor of the family. Hopefully audiences will embrace the Brenner family in the way they embraced the Lamberts.”
The film also deals with the first encounter between Elise ( Lin Shaye) and her supernatural assistants Specs ( Whannell himself ) and Tucker ( Angus Sampson). “You see their world before the first film,” Whannell explains. “They’re amateur ghost hunters with a web series so they haven’t had any actual experience, so Elise brings them into that world and they help bring her back to life. To me it’s a film about two people who are dead inside and seeing them come back to life.”
Having written the first two films in the series, Whannell stepped up to direct for the first time with Chapter 3, replacing James Wan, who was shooting Fast And Furious 7
at the time. But did Whannell turn to his frequent collaborator for advice?
“No, not really, he was in Dubai telling Vin Diesel to jump out of a building! But he did visit the set. I was shooting a ghost who was walking towards the camera and James leaned over and whispered to me, ‘ Have the ghost actor walk backwards and then run it in reverse, it will look really inhuman." And it was like sitting on the set of a thriller and having Alfred Hitchcock lean over. When it comes to modern horror films, James is the master. So I did that, and of course I tried to pass it off to the crew as my own idea. He saw the movie and he was proud of me. It’s been such a great experience. I’m sure the next film I make will be terrible, but this went as good as a film can go.”
Insidious: Chapter 3 is released on 5 June.
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