Insidious: Chapter 3 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 26-Nov-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror / Thriller Featurette-Making Of-Origin Story: Making Chapter 3
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Stunts: The Car Crash
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Macabre Creations
Featurette-Cherry Glazerr: Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Featurette-Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 97:22
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Leigh Whannell
Studio
Distributor
SONY Pictures
Universal Sony
Starring Dermot Mulroney
Stefanie Scott
Angus Sampson
Leigh Whannell
Lin Shaye
Tate Berney
Michael Reid MacKay
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Joseph Bishara


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Norwegian
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Insidious: Chapter 3 is not as good as the first two Insidious movies, which is disappointing to a certain extent. However, it still confidently rises above the usual low standard for horror movies in this day and age (it’s better than Ouija and Annabelle), and in this case, that’s just good enough. This second sequel to 2010’s Insidious sees usual franchise director James Wan reverting to a producer role, leaving long-time collaborator Leigh Whannell to fill the director’s chair (Wan was preoccupied with Furious 7). Whannell, who co-wrote the previous Insidious movies, is not as competent as his predecessor, but Insidious: Chapter 3 is by no means a bust, serving up an interesting prequel angle and still containing a handful of worthwhile horror sequences.

    Still devastated over the loss of her mother, 17-year-old Quinn (Stefanie Scott) is attempting to get into acting school, while her overworked father Sean (Dermot Mulroney) struggles to keep the family together. Wanting to make contact with her late parent, Quinn turns to noted psychic medium Elise (Lin Shaye), who has renounced her practise due to previous experiences that utterly drained her. Nevertheless, Elise agrees to help, but whilst communicating with the other side, a sinister entity latches itself onto Quinn. The demon begins to wreak havoc on Quinn’s life, leaving her bedridden after a car accident. Powerless to fight the evil, Quinn and Sean turn to Elise, desperate for help, while unproven internet ghost hunters Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) also help out as best they can.

    Chapter 3 is not as scary as the first two movies, and it’s certainly nowhere near as terrifying as Wan’s surprise hit The Conjuring. Whannell was visibly finding his feet as a director here, with a heap of jump scares as opposed to the more carefully-crafted scenes of terror that Wan can now pull off in his sleep. Indeed, the issue here is the lack of anticipation; Wan’s movies have the ability to keep us on the edge of out seat for minutes at a time, waiting for something to happen, but Chapter 3 comes up short in this respect. With that said, however, there are some spooky moments that do work, and some of the jump scares do their job reasonably well. The film also introduces some unsettling new demons, with the primary antagonist looking sickly and gross, a nice change of pace from the “Lipstick Demon” or the old lady from the previous pictures. Insidious: Chapter 3 looks slick and refined, with the customary modest budget ($10 million in this case) being put to great use. The visuals are bolstered by the typically creepy score courtesy of franchise veteran Joseph Bishara, though the trademark Insidious theme is not used as much as expected.

    Being a prequel, Chapter 3 does strive to serve as an origin story of sorts, finding Elise already haunted by the presence of the old lady who eventually kills her. It also traces Elise’s working relationship with Specs and Tucker (even though the webisodes for the second movie already revealed how they met). The prequel angle is in no way novel, and now seems customary for any prominent horror franchise, yet it’s still interesting to see, in spite of some overly cutesy prequel touches. What’s interesting about Insidious: Chapter 3 is the surprising emotional heft and thematic depth to the narrative, with Sean struggling to move on after the tragedy of losing his wife, straining his relationship with his children. The plot is put in motion by Quinn, who only wants psychic intervention to get closure with her late mother, and the climax is unexpectedly powerful due to this. It’s certainly a different dynamic compared to the first two Insidious pictures.

    Shaye has always been a pleasure to watch, and Insidious: Chapter 3 gives her a welcomely larger role in the proceedings. As ever, Shaye is note-perfect here as Elise, oozing gravitas and charm, and she’s also totally believable as a psychic medium. Equally impressive is newcomer Stefanie Scott, who’s easy to connect and sympathise with. Whannell deliberately chose a real teenager as opposed to a twenty-something like most Hollywood movies, and it’s a nice touch that enhances the production. The rest of the ensemble submit solid work as well, with the likes of Mulroney, Sampson and director Whannell all hitting their marks. James Wan even has a cameo, which is a nice touch.

    Insidious: Chapter 3 has its problems, with a screenplay that occasionally lacks focus, and with a shortage of memorably scary sequences, but it’s a decent effort on the whole, and it will be interesting to see if Whannell continues his path of spooky filmmaking after carving out a career as a writer and actor. Too many horror franchises feel compelled to move beyond a trilogy, with the likes of Saw (another Wan/Whannell series) and Paranormal Activity sullied by endless sequels. Although more Insidious films may be enticing simply because this is better-than-average horror franchise, this is the ideal time to close the book on the series and call it quits, especially with the law of diminishing returns already in effect.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Insidious: Chapter 3 comes to Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, with the 1080p high definition transfer presented via the MPEG-4 AVC video codec. In a word, it looks stunning. This is a low-budget horror flick, yet the digital photography looks borderline flawless, with the image coming from a 4K digital video source.

    As with the other instalments in this franchise, Chapter 3 takes place in a lot of dimly-lit rooms, which leaves this transfer prone to black crush. Luckily, no such issues exist, with the transfer constantly handling the dark moments with utmost ease whilst still exhibiting true blacks. Indeed, owing to the source, some areas of the frame need to be pitch-black to hide demons in the shadows, and this Blu-ray does a great job of faithfully recreating the cinema experience at home. There is not a single issue which arises from the encode, with the image also looking miraculously free of noise.

    This is a stable, richly-detailed transfer, with the transfer handling close-ups marvellously while the visual effects and make-up are easy to admire. Colour is gorgeous throughout, with natural skin-tones and environments looking lived-in, doing justice to the set design. Perhaps the video does look a bit too smooth at times, but this is more attributable to the inherent limitations of 1080p rather than an indictment of the disc.

    Insidious: Chapter 3 is a demo-worthy horror title, looking perfectly refined on Blu-ray. It sets a standard that other horror titles should aspire to, and it maintains the visual quality established with the previous Insidious pictures.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Sony imbues Insidious: Chapter 3 with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track (as well as lossless DTS 5.1 tracks in a number of other languages), and unfortunately the results are strangely mixed. The primary issue with this track is the levels. Whilst watching the movie, I was constantly turning the volume up and down, as dialogue is mixed pitifully low while the loud jump scares are mixed far too high. It’s extremely noticeable and distracting. This isn’t a case of having to turn the volume up or down by a notch or two; it’s more like ten notches. And that’s not an exaggeration.

    I did not view the picture at the cinema, therefore I am not sure if this is attributable to the source or not, but it’s impossible to overlook on the disc. The mixing is some of the worst I have heard on a Blu-ray for a long time, and considering how important sound is for these types of horror movies, that’s a major issue, unnecessarily knee-capping what could have been another demo-worthy disc. And judging from online forums, I am not alone in my observation.

    In other aspects, however, the track does soar. Noticeable separation gives the mix some real nuance, and there are no pops or any comparable issues; the track is crisp and clean from start to end. And though the loud moments are way too loud, they certainly gave my sound system a workout.

    I really wish the mixing on this Blu-ray was better, but alas, the far-too-soft dialogue really brings down the track as a whole.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A fairly standard-order selection of supplements of a mostly decent quality.

Origin Story: Making Chapter 3 (HD; 19:04)

    Running at almost twenty minutes, this is an agreeably meaty behind-the-scenes featurette that details numerous aspects of the production, from scripting to shooting. There’s a whole heap of raw on-set footage here, some of which is interesting because it shows the rather old-fashioned filmmaking techniques used during the scary sequences. The filming of James Wan’s cameo is also covered. Naturally, a lot of the cast and crew chime in, especially Whannell who’s enthusiastic about talking to his approach to the film. Worth watching.

Stunts: The Car Crash (HD; 9:35)

    This particular featurette is concerned with the scene involving Quinn getting hit by a car. This is a pretty in-depth behind-the-scenes examination, with on-set footage of the filming of the various live-action plates to be integrated together while Whannell walks us through the process. Fascinating.

Macabre Creations (HD; 8:58)

    Logically enough, this insightful featurette is concerned with the make-up and prosthetics used to bring the movie’s demons to vivid life. Whannell talks about his ideas relating to the design of the demons, while the various make-up guys chime in to talk about the lengthy process of creating the prosthetics. Plenty of behind-the-scenes footage is included here

Cherry Glazerr: Tiptoe Through the Tulips (HD; 5:16)

    Actress Stefanie Scott sits down with the band Cherry Glazerr to talk about their contributions to the movie, their history as a band, and their approach to covering the Tiny Tim song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” A nice inclusion, though not as interesting as the previous featurettes.

Being Haunted: A Psychic Medium Speaks (HD; 11:34)

    A “real life psychic medium” named Michael J. Kouri talks about his beliefs regarding ghosts, demons and poltergeists, what he has seen and experienced, and so on. Frankly, Kouri does get on the nerves rather quickly, as he says patently untrue things with such a straight face. Anyone who doesn’t believe in ghosts (me included) won’t find much of merit here.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 5:16)

    Three deleted scenes are included here, which can be watched individually or via a “Play All” function. These are interesting to watch, but it’s easy to see why they were trimmed.

Trailers (HD; 2:19)

    Although listed as a plural, this is just a trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2, the same trailer which plays as soon as you insert the disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Supplemental material is identical worldwide. It's a draw. Buy local.

Summary

    Horror buffs and franchise fans will probably enjoy Insidious: Chapter 3. In spite of its flaws, it's a solid movie on the whole. Sony's Blu-ray release is respectable on the whole, sporting exceptional video but problematic audio, while extras are insightful, if a bit light. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, December 02, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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