Lin Shaye’s character Elise is a fan favorite in all of the Insidious films. In Insidious Chapter 3, fans get exactly what they want. They get a movie about Elise. Elise is a psychic who has the ability to contact the dead in all three films. She knows more about the other side than most people do. However, she still doesn’t know much about the other side in this film. She helps people dealing with hauntings and pain by contacting the other side. Insidious Chapter 3 is directed and written by Leigh Whannel.
Shaye plays her character brilliantly and this film gives her a more rounded backstory. We have come to think of Elise as more of a person instead of this unstoppable badass ghost killer. This film makes us care about her and the struggles that she is dealing with. This is quite odd for a new horror film. Elise shows us a wide range of emotions. This includes depression, vulnerability, fear, and strength. At one point during the film, I actually believed she would give up on helping our main family with their ghost problem. We saw complete and total hesitation. We even saw fear. This is so unlike the Elise we know and love from the other two films.
Insidious 3 is more than just a flick about Elise. The movie manages to keep you at the edge of your seat with quite a few different jump scares that come when you are least expecting it. He uses complete silence to make things much more terrifying. In addition, he adds a little comedy right before terrible things begin to happen. This causes you to believe that something horrible could happen at any moment regardless of what is actually happening on the screen. This is one of my favorite things about Insidious 3. It can make you laugh and immediately terrified only seconds later.
The best horror films are the ones that take you through the terrifying journey the characters are experiencing. While I would not say that this film was just as scary as the first two films, it did make us feel and understand the way our two main heroines were feeling. We felt fear, loss, and eventual closure. I was just as relieved as the main characters when the ordeal was over.
Although it is possible to enjoy this movie without seeing the first two films, many details will be missed by doing so. Seeing the first two Insidious movies helps you understand the importance of certain characters and events. Insidious 3 is a prequel. It takes place a few years before the Lambert haunting. You won’t be able to fully appreciate Elise’s backstory without seeing the other two films. We see her battle with her own demons both real and figurative. We get to see the haunting that made her into the person we remember.
Insidious Chapter 3 revolves around a high school senior who recently lost her mother. She contacts Elise because she wants to speak with her mother. Elise refuses at first. It is obvious that she has given up her gift for reasons that will be explained later in the film. She gives in and tries to help. However, she finds an evil spirit instead. She stops trying to reach the mother and warns Quinn that when she calls out to the dead all of them can hear her. Of course, that does not stop Quinn from continuing to reach out to the other side. When a car accident leaves her with two broken legs, she is completely helpless against the evil spirit that is after her. The ghost is able to have his way with her and it seems there is nothing she can do about it. This is where the movie is the most terrifying. Her father gets the help of Elise and a couple of ghost hunters that many fans will remember from the first two movies. We watch Elise and Quinn grow stronger and take down the spirits that have attached them.