22 July 2015

The INSIDIOUS Trilogy

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

German Title:
Insidous: Chapter 3 - Jede Geschichte hat einen Anfang

Canada / USA, 2015
Director: Leigh Whannell

3/10








After the disappointment that was "Insidious: Chapter 2" (see below), I had absolutely no expectations towards the third installmment, partly because I thought there was no use for yet another "Insidious" flick, partly because I didn't like the way-too-over-the-top trailer which looked even worse than the "Poltergeist" remake. Surprise, suprise: "Insidous: Chapter 3" is not just worse than "Poltergeist", it's even worse than the 2nd chapter, a poor and worthless prequel that is actually NOT a prequel, but just a lame ghost story that takes place before the events in the first two parts and includes all kinds of characters from, and nods to the first two parts.


It's understandable that James Wan didn't want to direct the third one after he already wasn't too keen on doing the second one - but passing on to his friend and screenwriting partner Leigh Whannell was a decision that is about as awful as Whannell's very own screenplay for this mess of a movie. I'm serious when I say that I can't decide what's worse: his incredibly muddled script or his unnervingly insipid direction. Lackluster and really unsympathetic characters talking pointless nonsense to each other, stumbling through a flawed and uninteresting plot that possesses more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese, and more unanswered questions than "Lost". A father that seems to be unaware that he is constantly switching between good dad and bad dad, an oh-so-Internet-obsessed girl that actually isn't Internet-obsessed at all and totally doesn't get how unbelievably rude her semi-BFF is, a love-interest-character that appears and disappears faster than you can say 'kisses', an (asthmatic) ghost who makes all kinds of shenanigans, but the audience never gets to know who he is, where he comes from and what his problem is etc. etc.


In addition, the movie is boring, at times because it's rather predictable, at times because it's so badly directed. There's no atmosphere, no suspense and most certainly no scariness at all. Whannell makes the same fucking mistake than other recent garbage like "Ouija" or "The Woman In Black 2" did: jump scares, jump scares and even more jump scares. Christ goddammit, is that all what young filmmakers are able to do nowadays? Like Steven Spielberg once said while talking about the legendary head-scene in "Jaws": a movie can have only one major scare moment, because afterwards the audience will be on guard against the film. Know what? After the very first scares, a more or less not-so-effective variation of the bus scene in "Final Destination" and the 'hand scare' which was basically the only neat thing in the movie's trailer but didn't work in the film because I've seen it too many times before, I was not just on guard, I was actually unnerved and bored because from the second scare on, I knew that the rest of the movie would be just an endless succession of shitty Boo!-moments.


Ok, admittably, it's not all jump scares. Whannell also tried to include as many emotional scenes and sentimental moments as possible... um, I meant, TOO many emotional scenes and sentimental moments, and they all feel forced, like he's standing behind you, telling you to feel sad right now, to cry right now, to be emotionally involved right fucking now. Of course, that just does not work that way, and it works even less when the viewer dislikes almost every single character, when the viewer doesn't care if someone's partner/mother/etc. died, when the viewer just wants this disaster to be over.

In a nutshell:
The things I liked - Lin Shaye whose powerful performance saves the movie from being a complete crapfest, Tucker & Specs (fun as always), some nice camera work by Brian Pearson ("Final Destination 5").
The things I hated - everything about the main girl and her father, too much scenes in the Further (*yawn*), yet another séance (*yawn*), the insanely high amount of rubbish jump scares, the forced emotionality, weak-looking CGI effects, god-awful dialogue, no "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" even though it was prominently featured in the trailers WTF?, a surprisingly dull score by Joseph Bishara and the worst final jump scare since the 2013 "Carrie" remake. Bleh.




INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

USA, 2013
Director: James Wan

4/10












(Review from October 2013)
One of my most anticipated movies of 2013 turns out to be a major dud. After the absolutely incredible "The Conjuring", James Wan and his screenwriting partner Leigh Whannell fully disappoint with a preposterous and unnecessary sequel that tries to be innovative and super-clever, but falls completely flat due to the absence of originality, atmosphere and legit scares, an annoyingly convoluted and pretty incoherent story that is all over the place, and [SPOILERS] too many nods to classics like "The Amityville Horror" or "The Shining" (good daddy becomes bad daddy with a baseball bat swinging), "Sleepaway Camp" or "Psycho"
(mother forces her boy to be a girl), nods that would have worked better if done more subtle, but eventually don't work at all because these nods are so in-your-face, it's just frustrating.


The movie starts out excellent with a fantastic opening scene and a few super-creepy scenes (piano room, woman in white, baby toy), but after the first 30-40 minutes, it gradually gets more and more silly and nonsensical with interesting but poorly executed retcon sequences, many unintentionally ridiculous scenes, a dumb kind of humor that doesn't work for me at all, as well as many predictable and unscary jump scares, the totally pointless return of Lin Shaye and her ghostbusters, a climax that feels extremely rushed, a laughable open ending that screams Part 3, an insane amount of boring horror clichés (abandoned hospital, ghost in elevator, Ouija-like dice, pulling out teeth...), pointless and somewhat senseless time-travel rubbish, and hardly any tension.

Most of the acting is as great as in the first one, with the exception of Patrick Wilson who exceeds his performance by turning his character into a stunningly creepy baddie (love the scene where he's grinning like crazy), and Rose Byrne who is surprisingly way weaker than in the first part. There's nothing to complain about Joseph Bishara (score) and John R. Leonetti (cinematography) who once again deliver top-notch quality work.


Nevertheless, the good stuff didn't help in making me enjoy this mess at all, even though I really tried hard to like it. To me, it felt like Wan was just re-using scenes and ideas that didn't make it into "The Conjuring" (or maybe a possibly planned extended version of "Insidious"??), as well as if Wan just lost interest in making/creating/finishing the movie during shooting. Fail!




INSIDIOUS

USA, 2010
Director: James Wan

8,5/10











(Review from July 2011)
Does it deserve the hype? Yes, it does!
"Insidious" is a wonderful oldschool kinda-haunted-house flick in the vein of "Poltergeist" or "The Changeling", thrilling, highly atmospheric and stunningly scary, but also pretty entertaining due to a few amusing scenes and characters.


For the greater part the movie is just creepy as hell. After an eerie and impressively unsettling introduction, it gets creepier and creepier by the minute. Lots of scenes that gave me the willies ("It's not the house that is haunted. It's your son."), lots of scenes that frightened me to death ("Dalton scares me when he gets up and walks around at night." - getting goosebumps while writing this), many scenes that made me jump outta the cinema seat (whenever the red face pops up, the smiling ladies standing by the pendulum clock, etc.).

The last third may be not as scary as the first 2 thirds, still it's powerful and very gripping, thanks to plenty of kick-ass action and Leigh Whanell's fantastic script which provides a few amazing and totally unpredictable plot twists.


The cast is absolutely top notch. Awesome performances from the terrific Patrick Wilson (still an extremely underrated actor - hope that will change soon), the wonderful Rose Byrne and the fabulous Lin Shaye as some kinda Zelda Rubinstein 2.0 ;-)
Massive kudos to John R. Leonetti and David M. Brewer for their outstanding camera work. Enormous amounts of impressive-looking and/or superscary images (the ceiling fan, the ceiling lamp, handmarks pressed on a window, the old lady with the candle, the horrifying gas mask, weird dream sequences...), fabulous tracking shots and cool aerial shots - a feast for the eyes!!

Furthermore, we get to see lots of super-gorgeous settings (house #1, the red room, the attic), a stunning Darth-Maul-look-a-like demon and a few frightening Shutter-like ghost photographies.
The pumping violin-driven soundtrack is magnificent and the disturbing usage of Tiny Tim's weird novelty classic "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" is IMO simply genius.
 

With "Insidious", James Wan fully proves that he's not just a one-hit-wonder, but a talented and gifted director who's able to reinvent himself and create more awesome horror stuff. Thumbs up!!

14 comments:

  1. OMG I loved this movie! It creeped the hell out of me and Tiny Tim's Tip Toe Through The Tulips was the perfect unsettling accessory. It made me jump when that song came on and that little demon guy was dancing.

    You of course posted one of the shots that had me jump about three feet. ;)

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  2. Imagine how creepy it would have been if the boy was actually possessed by Tiny Tim himself :-D

    hehe, it made me jump about three feet too :-)

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  3. Wow, you obviously liked it a lot, buddy! It wasn't necessarily scary, but it was creepy for sure. It lacked that extra little something for me... all Wan films do.

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  4. Yeah, enjoyed it a lot.

    Well, I thought it was extremely scary... but I admit, I am easily scared :-)

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  5. I personally enjoyed both, 2nd one actually worked better than the first one for me.

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    1. Part 1 creeped the shit outta me. Part 2 not. Simple as that ;)

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  6. Hey Maynard.Its Kyle. Really you didn't like the second Insidious at all well since you enjoyed The Conjuring I wasn't expecting you weren't gonna like the second Insidious although I had no problems with Insidious Chapter 2 at all for me it was just as good as the original only with different tones and themes and I agree with you with Patrick Wilson's performance and I also love the way his character changed from a light hearted father to a crazy, evil possessed father and I did enjoy the scares of Insidious Chapter 2 Maynard and it was nice enough for the film.Since you were disappointed with Insidious Chapter 2 you should wait for another 2013 Horror film and that is Carrie which is a remake of the original Brian De Palma 1976 classic and based on Stephen King's novel of the same name and the new Carrie is the second remake the first remake is the 2002 made for TV Carrie remake the second remake is already showing in Cinemas. You should watch that one Maynard its a way better version than the original Carrie because the new actress who plays Carrie is Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore plays the mother of Carrie White I assume you read the book Maynard since I saw your review on the original 1976 Carrie by Brian De Palma the 2013 remake of Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Try watching that one Maynard its my advice to you please man. Thanks anyways great review on the Insidious movies.

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    1. I adore the original Carrie, that's why I already hate the new remake because the trailers look horrible. Moretz is a decent actress but she looks too 'nice' for Carrie, and Julianne Moore is always a hit-or-miss actress, sometimes good, sometimes just bad. Not looking forward to it, but I'll watch it nonetheless.

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  7. Oh I see. I think Chloe Grace Moretz plays Carrie very well when I watched that movie two times especially Jullianne Moore who delivers a fantastic performance in the new Carrie remake and don't forget Maynard the reason why the film was remade because the idea is to make it closer to Stephen King's novel and the character of Carrie White is a couple of combinations from the novel and the original 1976 classic I actually didn't have any problems at all with the film and I can't even wait for it to be released on DVD and my parents love Carrie a lot they watched the original back when they were my age I do remember seeing the original Carrie because my dad has a copy of it and I have it in the shelf of my house and me and my parents love the new Carrie when we watched it. Also Chloe Moretz is seriously perfect for Carrie and I love how the filmmakers hire a much younger actress for the new Carrie remake because Chloe Moretz is 16 years old and I think Sissy Spacek in the original Carrie looks a bit more of an 18 years old Carrie while Angela Bettis in the 2002 Made for TV remake of Carrie looks more of a 20 years old Carrie and I think Chloe Moretz is much younger than any of the two actresses who played Carrie Maynard.

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    Replies
    1. I will check out when it arrives here (Mid-November) and of course, I'll write a review about it. Just to make sure: my expectations are very low, because De Palma's "Carrie" was such an awesome movie, I don't think we need another remake, especially not with thst cast.

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  8. Replies
    1. I couldn't have said it better, Kieran.

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  9. I haven't seen any of these yet - so I didn't read - but I wanted to let you know - this post shows up in your blog listing on my smartphone - but does not show up in the blog list on my desktop computer. I got to it because I knew it was there - and went to the previous post and hit newer post. I'll come back and leave a real comment when I finally see the movies.

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    1. I know why: this is just an updated version of the post that I already posted in October 2013. Updated posts won't show up in the desktop blog list.

      Excited to hear what you think of the trilogy!

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