Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

July 5, 2015 in Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller


The original Insidious was pretty good until falling apart in the final act. Insidious: Chapter 2 was so forgettable that I barely remember anything about it. And so it was expected that Insidious: Chapter 3 would be a complete waste of time, a greedy cash grab.

To my surprise, the third instalment of Insidious was much better than I anticipated. It’s still a formulaic modern horror in the same vein as its predecessors and most other horror flicks these days, but it’s a relatively well-executed one that offers some effective scares.

Part of the reason the film feels fresher than it ought to have been is because it’s a prequel as opposed to a sequel, so you don’t really need to have seen any of the other films in the franchise to follow what’s going on. The only returning character is Lin Shaye as medium Elise, and she gets much more screen time as we delve into her backstory.

The other pertinent factor is that the film marks the directorial debut of Aussie Leigh Whannell, partner in crime of director James Wan. The duo first came to fame thanks to Saw, which Whannell wrote and Wan directed. He also wrote the first two Insidious films as well as this third one, but with Wan going off to direct Fast and Furious 7, this marked the perfect opportunity for Whannell to try his luck at the director’s chair.

What I am trying to say from all this is that Whannell knows what he is doing from all those years working alongside Wan, and he understands the material inside out because has been writing the whole thing since the very beginning. Furthermore, it’s his first time directing, so he was able to throw in a lot of new tricks he must have been saving up.

The story is not that important but I’ll give a quick intro. A young girl named Quinn (Stefanie Scott) goes to see a medium (Shaye) about her deceased mother, and a subsequent reading unleashes a demonic spirit who attaches itself to Quinn and makes all sorts of scary stuff happen. It’s not original and doesn’t pretend to be.

Instead trying to impress with story, Insidious 3 is all about the scares. It’s one frightening scenario after another for most of the tight 97-minute running time, with a crafty mix of creepy situations, hair-raising atmosphere and familiar “boo” moments to keep audiences on their toes. We’re not talking groundbreaking horror here, but what it does is at least skilful and gets the job done. The creation of that awful feeling of dread and helplessness as something terrible is coming towards you is executed especially well.

It helps that Lin Shaye is wonderful as always and Scott does a convincing scare face. Dermot Mulroney, who plays her dad, is at least not annoying, which he very well could have been.

As with previous Insidious films, this one goes off the rails a little as it nears the end and falls prey to modern horror tropes, but in all this is a prequel that is better than the sequel and one of the better generic horrors on the market.

3.25 stars out of 5

The Clock’s Ticking

July 5, 2015 in Blogging, Misc, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller


Is it just me or is time flying? Can’t believe it’s been more than two weeks since my last post. Health issues, visiting relatives, family roadtrips, work, freelance gigs, NBA free agency and general laziness have kept me from being more active than I should be. Hopefully, that is about to change.

About a year ago I made a pact with a friend, a bit of a dreamer like me but with more outlandish ideas about doing something with their lives to get out of the rat race and make the world a better place. We like to dream big, but like most people, seem to lack the persistence and resolve to follow through. So we decided to promise each other to take the initiative to get something done. Set a goal and work towards it. We decided six months or even a year was too short to get our butts moving, so we aimed for 18 months — the end of this year.

My goal was simple: to complete a first draft of something, be it a novel or a screenplay. There were times throughout the past 12 months where I have gotten into a couple of my pet projects, with great passion and enthusiasm, but never for very long. And now I don’t have very long left. Six months to produce something so I can keep up my end of the bargain.

To be honest I’m not optimistic. I was wrong in thinking that starting is the hardest part. The hardest part is always keeping it up the next day, and the day after, and the day after that. I’ve started so many times over the past year, only to stop after a day or two for whatever reason. The key is to not view that as a stoppage, but a bump in the road before getting back on track again.

Here goes. I’ve got a whole bunch of posts lined up and almost ready to post, so I’ll spread them out over the next week or two to give myself some breathing room to get into it without neglecting this blog. I’m still watching movies so reviews will keep coming.

Wish me luck.