In­sid­i­ous: Chap­ter 3

SFX - - Rated -

A steam­ing pile of third

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

15 | 98 min­utes Di­rec­tor: Leigh Whan­nell Cast: Der­mot Mul­roney, Ste­fanie Scott, An­gus Samp­son, Leigh Whan­nell, Lin Shaye

The first of the re­cent

glut of slick haunted- house flicks, In­sid­i­ous was, in places, gen­uinely un­nerv­ing, but ran out of story steam way be­fore the last act. So what’s left for Chap­ter 3, the di­rec­to­rial de­but of se­ries scribe and co- star Leigh Whan­nell?

Set “a few years be­fore” In­sid­i­ous, it re- in­tro­duces medium Elise Rainier ( Lin Shaye) as a younger, sad­der woman who’s given up on her gifts. When teenager Quinn ( Ste­fanie Scott) knocks at her door, ask­ing for help com­mu­ni­cat­ing with her late mother, Elise warns her off: “If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you.” Quinn’s soon in con­tact with some­thing – but it sure as hell ain’t mommy.

Whan­nell’s writ­ing de­serves some ku­dos. Quinn breaks both legs and is ef­fec­tively bed- bound while all man­ner of de­monic nas­ties stalk her room – a smart set- up for a mod­ern spook story. But what works on the page doesn’t quite trans­late to the screen: the chief an­tag­o­nist is a mem­o­rably nasty cre­ation, but his sud­den ap­pear­ances leave no dread, so the ( many) jump scares spike and dis­si­pate al­most im­me­di­ately. Other as­pects don’t work at all: the bland fam­ily dy­nam­ics, shaky act­ing, and out- of- place jokes. A fi­nal lift from The Sixth Sense re­minds us it is pos­si­ble to be scary, mov­ing and funny, it’s just ex­tremely rare.

When a hor­ror film’s most shock­ing mo­ment in­volves hurl­ing a ve­hi­cle at us, some­thing’s gone amiss. Shame, be­cause the plot has real po­ten­tial. Matt Glasby The film fea­tures a golden re­triever by the name of War­ren – a nod to Ed and Lorraine War­ren from The Con­jur­ing.

“Where are my flip­ping hair­pins?!”

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