Go back to the beginning, if you dare, in this chilling prequel that takes place before the unforgettable haunting of the Lambert family. Paranormal investigators Tucker and Specs team up with the psychic Elise to help Quinn, a teenage girl who believes that her late mother is trying to make contact. At first, Elise's horrific past makes her reluctant to use her ability, but when Quinn's desperate father begs for assistance, she agrees to venture into The Further. There, she finds a ruthless supernatural entity with a voracious craving for the souls of the living. It's the darkest chapter yet in this spine-tingling portrayal of evil unleashed.
The current 'Insidious' movie franchise is still on a roll, generating tons of box office success and a good amount of critical acclaim on a small budget to keep these sequels and or prequels firing along every year or two. There's good reason for that too, because there is still some great talent behind these films, and even though some of the horror aspects aren't the freshest or most original, they continue to pack good scares, decent acting, and thrilling story lines to keep audiences interested, entertained, and coming back for more horror.
'Insidious' is one of the many movies nowadays that deals with the super creepy and very haunting sub genre of the paranormal, where usually some ghost like apparition reveals itself to have a sinister agenda. Instead of some masked giant monster, tracking you with a giant knife and stabbing you dozens of times, 'Insidious' relies on the slow burn effect, providing some good jump out scares and building tension until you witness a terrifying climax. It's a good formula that still seems to be working for audiences.
We've been with 'Insidious' for a few years and now we have the third film, which is a prequel and first time directed effort from writer/actor Leigh Whannell ('Saw') with the help of some of his collaborators James Wan ('Saw') and Oren Peli ('Paranormal Activity'). Whannel's script wants to show you some of your favorite characters in a prequel setting, some years ago, before the first film, in order to show us where these people came from and how they become the people who we've seen in the prior two films. That being said, 'Insidious: Chapter 3' doesn't follow these characters the whole way through, but rather focuses on a young girl named Quinn (Stefanie Scott) who has just lost her mother. Her younger brother Alex (Tate Berney) and father Sean (Dermot Mulroney) are all trying to cope with their loss.
Soon enough though, Quinn starts to get a sense that her mother is still with her. Quinn begins to see things that aren't there and witness strange occurrences. She then contacts 'Insidious' alum Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye), a psychic medium who will help her connect to the "other side". After a car accident affects Quinn for the worst, she is now chased and haunted by a very sinister force, where her family and Elise try and help her escape before she's gone forever. The internet ghost hunters Specs and Tucker (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson respectively) show up as well to help out here.
'Insidous: Chapter 3' more or less follows the same pattern as the previous two films, but there is enough fresh material and genuine scares to keep our interest in this film as well as a follow up movie again. Again, Lin Shaye is perfect here again, but the real spotlight is on Stefanie Scott, who plays her character with enough guts and emotion, that we almost immediately connect with her. For fans of the film series, you'll enjoy the "inside jokes" with some of the characters, as well as who they were before we met them in 'Chapter 1', and Whannell does an excellent job of explaining the transitions from each of the films into this prequel, leaving this third chapter a successful one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Insidious: Chapter 3' comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc and is Region-A locked. There is also a digital copy of the film here as well, both of which are incased in the blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. There is no insert for the film either.
'Insidious: Chapter 3' comes with an incredible 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. This image comes from a digital 4K source and just couldn't look better. With these low budget horror movies that are mostly shot in very low lit scenes and dark rooms, there could be ample room for problems, but I'm happy to say there isn't one issue here. The detail is extremely vivid and sharp at all times, even during the lower lit scenes.
Closeups reveal tons of detail in the actor's faces, such as visual effects, makeup blemishes, wounds, wrinkles, and age spots very well. The intimate stitching in the wardrobe also looks excellent too. Wider shots show a great amount of detail as well. The movie props, set pieces, furniture, and exterior objects look just as good as everything else, giving this image quite a bit of depth. Colors pop off screen as well, when not in the darker scenes. Each color is well-balanced and saturated and never hazy or washed out.
The dark scenes emit a nice blue tint as well. Black levels are deep and inky with no signs of crush and the skin tones are always natural. There are zero instances of any major aliasing, banding, or any other compression problem. This is one horror movie video presentation that every other horror film should strive to be like. Excellent job here.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and sounds amazing. This is one of those audio track that will have you looking over your shoulder or behind your couch, checking if something villainous is looking to attack you. Needless to say, it's quite an immersive soundtrack for sure. The sound effects are fine tuned and realistic and pack a punch at all times, giving the video an even bigger impact. Each sound effects is well-balanced and robust with excellent directionality.
Even the rear speakers get a great workout here with the terrifying and haunting ambient noises and sound effects throughout. The score is very eerie and causes panic in certain scenes. The crescendos cause scares and sound top notch without any screeching. There is also a good amount of bass that has a nice rumble to it, never crossing over into the rocky territory. Lastly, the dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills, leaving this audio presentation with excellent marks as well.
Origin Story: Making Chapter 3 (HD, 19 Mins.) - Here is a decent EPK type of featurette that covers almost all aspects of production, detailing pre-production and the actual shoot of the film. For fans of the movie, you'll enjoy this behind the scenes extra.
'Insidious: Chapter 3' is a great addition to the horror franchise and is an excellent directorial debut for Leigh Whannell who has sat as a producer/writer/actor for a number of years now. This third chapter does a great job of showing us where some of our favorite characters came from in the two previous films, along with providing a few good scares. The video and audio presentations are perfect and the extras are worth watching if you're a fan of the franchise. Highly recommended!
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.