When we last left our heroes, James Wan was putting on his usual clinic and Patrick Wilson was letting loose with an uncharacteristically unhinged performance and there was ghost time travel which is honestly one of the most metal things I’ve ever heard of, but then the movie decided to ambush me with some just… completely horrific transphobia, and I’m never watching it again even though I was really grooving on the first 90ish minutes.
We rejoin our heroes, and find them less one James Wan as well as one Patrick Wilson. It took me quite a while to get around to this one after how thoroughly Chapter 2 sapped my enthusiasm for the series. And Chapter 3 was honestly throwing me some pretty strong “just don’t bother” vibes at first because I just didn’t find myself caring too much about any of the characters (except for Elise, who I had some pre-existing caring for) or their relationships.
And then Quinn got hit by a fucking car.
Okay, that’s not where the real turning point was, but it sure is something when a movie (or television or whatever) nails that moment of shock when a person gets hit by a vehicle. Leading up to that, though, there were two very effective scares that amounted to very little but a shadowy figure waving at Quinn. It’s pretty damn impressive that something that simple can be made so genuinely unnerving. These weren’t James Wan scares, but they very nearly had the same lingering, bone-chilling effectiveness.
Also, like, sorry to literally always be that [enby], but despite the demon turning out to be extremely unattractive, the scene where he throws Quinn off her bed and then walks around the room eerily slowly and methodically closes all her shades and locks her door was both effectively scary and sexy as hell. (Yeah, I need help.) It would’ve been even better if he turned out to be an archetypal-looking demon and not an old dude with a breathing mask, but y’know, c’est la vie and all that.
(Another thing that would’ve been hot as hell if the demon weren’t gross-looking: the fact that his entire M.O. is stealing human souls and keeping them as “pets.” Like, wow, sign me up for that with a more traditional-looking demon, right?)
The inclusion of Elise’s two sidekicks was honestly pretty questionable to me. I understand the impulse to explain why she started hanging out with those two nerds, but it really didn’t add anything to this movie and it just felt clunky and obvious as hell, especially that last scene. And the scares honestly became very inconsistently effective as soon as Elise entered the Further. Some of them were still effective as hell, but others were just nothing.
The thing that really saved the movie at this point was Elise being a badass who literally just yells at and fucks up demons. I’m there’s plenty of people for whom this stuff doesn’t work at all, but I totally loved it.
Also, although I’m always going to have mixed feelings about everything involving the Bride in Black considering the transphobic turn that story took in Insidious: Chapter 2, I thought all the stuff involving that character in this film was super effective, and Elise’s terrified reactions really added a lot to her character and gave her something to overcome. Plus, it was all just genuinely menacing and creepy as hell, which is when this series is at its best. I just wish Chapter 2 had never fucking happened so I could love all of this unabashedly. (Also, sorry again, but a demon who is super into choking people really hits some of my buttons. Sorry. Why does anyone follow me.)