Sunday, June 7, 2015

Moonlight Movie Reviews - Insidious Chapter 3 (and a couple old ones I forgot)

It's that time again...



Gotta love a poster with this tagline...




Last Thursday, I took in an early screening of the latest film in one of my favorite horror franchises from recent years. So far, I've enjoyed all three films in the "Insidious" series, not to mention their sister films, "The Conjuring" and "Anabelle" (the former of those two films being far superior to the latter, but Anabelle has some fantastic scares and creepiness). A lot of people did not like "Insidious Chapter 2". Admittedly, it is one that took repeat viewings for me to fully appreciate, but part of it is accepting it for not so much of a horror movie as a paranormal/sci-fi fantasy. In other words, it's not very scary, but it's a good movie anyway, one particular line not withstanding. "Insidious Chapter 3," however, takes things back to full on horrific. 

So, I went to the Lakeline Drafthouse on Thursday evening, ordered up some food, and settled in for a good scare. I even tried something different this time. Instead of pizza, I ordered the Fish and Chips, which had been recommended to me. I also ordered hot wings. I didn't take any preshow shots this time, but I do have an analysis of the food for you. The wings, which I just chose in the HOT variety, were fantastic. They actually came near the end of the film, because someone back there forgot to make them. This worked out fine though, because A. I wasn't charged for them, and B. They ended the meal on a high net. See, the Fish and Chips was (were?) good, but I tend to like stronger flavors. I actually liked the fish very much, but the fries didn't do much for me. Admittedly, I can be finicky about french fries, and I might not like some that others might love. The Fish and Chips were tasty, but not that exciting, especially not the fries. The wings were exceptional, though I have ordered them before, and like with the pizza, I guess sometimes it comes out better than other times (though usually excellent). Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. Friday, I am going to see Jurassic World, and I'll be getting my Carnivore Pizza again, as usual. I'll miss the wings though, but I can't afford both, ha. Anyone else think I should get free Drafthouse wings for a lifetime due to all the promoting I do for them here? Heck, let's just say free meals in general. "Mr. Moonlight, your money's no good here! It's on the house! Forever!" Anywho, on to the film...




How 'bout that? 




I should mention, I didn't know going in that Insidious 3 was going to be a prequel to the original film. The last one ended with the very beginning of a brand new case, so I always expected a follow-up film to continue from there. Well, nope, maybe next time. This one is about a case that took place shortly before the first film. It follows a teenage girl about to graduate from high school who is missing her recently deceased mother. The girl, Quinn Brenner, played by Disney Channel's Stefanie Scott, has been trying to contact her mother's spirit, and decides to turn to medium Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye)for help. Elise reluctantly makes an attempt, but discovers an evil entity is trying to take control of Quinn. Elise then chases Quinn off to return to her own life of seclusion since the recent loss of her husband. She has stopped using her powers due to threats from one entity in particular, and this latest experience has only fed her fears more. Shortly after that, Quinn is in an accident and finds herself with both her legs in casts. This makes her the perfect prey for the dark spirit that she's attracted to herself. The evil force proceeds to torment Quinn and downright attempt to kill her repeatedly, until Quinn's father, Sean Brenner (Dermot Mulroney), must seek out Elise and convince her to save Quinn from this ghost bent on murder. 





There's the basics. So, anyways...



"Insidious Chapter 3" is a film I greatly enjoyed. There are things I can nitpick about, but overall, not much. There are times when I don't love Lin Shaye's acting. However, much of the time she is great, and it's neat to see her kicking a little ass in this flick. I remember when there were a lot of complaints about there being no lead roles for older women in film. I think things have definitely changed in that department these days. This is as much Lin's movie as Stefanie Scott's, but both do a fantastic job keeping you invested in the film. I admit, I was worried a few times in this film that it was going to go down a road I didn't like. Stefanie's character, oh, wait, hang on. Let me say something. She is super hot in this. I mean, she was cute on the Disney Channel, which is the only place I've seen her before, but she looks way better here than as a blonde. Wow, she looks great in this movie. Okay, where was I? For the record, that is not the only reason you feel for her character. Stefanie does fantastic in this film. But, yeah, I was saying, boy, she gets it brutally from the evil spirit in this movie, and for a while I started to worry, "Is this going to be 'Passion of the Christ' or something?" I realize there's a market for films about nothing more than brutalizing women, but that is NOT my thing. Thankfully, that was not the entire plot and runtime of this film, and when all was said and done, it only really enhanced the concern and fear we felt for this character. Some of those scenes where she is alone and being attacked, they are truly terrifying. One scene in particular comes to mind. 




Something else that had me worried at one point was that the film was just going to fall into a formula. Family being tortured by ghosts. Lin Shaye goes (or sends someone else) into "The Further" to confront it. This didn't turn out to be the whole thing though Yeah, looking back, it did happen, and maybe this is a patchwork of previous Insidious films and the Conjuring franchise, but if so, they did a fine job patching plot and plot devices together to make it seem like something new. Basically, whatever they did, it worked. The story is compelling and the scary stuff is mostly really scary, and you really feel strongly for the lead characters here. I mentioned that "Anabelle" had its strong points, but the characters were rather stiff and hard to connect with. That was not a problem here, Stefanie Scott does a wonderful acting job here, and the cast in general is great. Plus, yes, the Insidious comic relief duo is back, ghost-hunters Specs and Tucker, still in top form. That's another thing "Anabelle" could have used a hint more of, some lighthearted moments or characters. Though, again, I do like that film, aside from its lame climax, but its other big problems did come from the characters. No worries about that here though! And the villain is extremely creepy. This film hardly has anything to complain about at all. In fact, nothing really springs to mind, aside from the stinger right before the end credits. I don't like to give spoilers, but they do a bit at the end that is super scary, very reminiscent of something in the Exorcist, but then there is a jump scare that interrupts the already very scary visual. It's a moment when it brings back a character from the first film that, frankly, some people loved and some people thought was stupid looking, ha. I actually loved the character in that film, but I get why he doesn't work for some, and throwing him in at the last second was so unnecessary, especially since it kinda ruined a much scarier thing that was happening already. Oh well, it's not really that important.

So, yeah, I strongly recommend "Insidious Chapter 3" to anyone who is a fan of the series. If you're curious, but haven't seen the previous ones, you don't HAVE to see part two, but it would enhance your enjoyment to see part one first. However, it isn't necessary. There are lots of callbacks to it, this is essentially a prequel, but it also works well as its own story that doesn't rely on your knowledge of the other films.

And, that's "Insidious 3", but it turns out there were two other films I saw over the past several weeks that I completely forgot to talk about...


 


Okay, I'm gonna do this really quickly. You know the routine. It's a work night, these movies are old already, and I don't remember everything in perfect detail. Heck, Spongebob is on home video already. Still, if you're wondering if you should spend the dough to buy or rent them, maybe I can help. Er, at least, here's what I thought of them, ten peso version.

Spongebob Movie - Sponge out of Water: This is the second Spongebob movie, I think. Spongebob is something I only watch now and then. I think it's pretty funny, I enjoy it, but I'm not an avid watcher, I'm a very casual one. I know the basics though. This movie plays a lot like a looong episode. It's very funny and there are some surprises here and there. Oh, here's a big one: It's not computer animated/live-action. Nope, that was a clever marketing LIE. I mean, it is during the climax of the film, but that is IT. It's a story about a big plot by Plankton to get the Krabby Patty recipe. The whole thing is being told to some seagulls by a live-action pirate known as Burger Beard, played by Antonio Banderas. These are some really great and funny moments in the film. I did enjoy it and do recommend it to Spongebob fans, either hardcore or casual, but know that they were and still are lying in the marketing for this film, They are only showing the scenes with computer animated Spongebob and friends. That is only the climax of the film. It's entertaining and cool, but it is not the bulk of the film, which looks a lot like a regular episode. Maybe a little better. I don't watch it ENOUGH to say for certain.

It Follows: I remember seeing this horror flick played up a lot in its ad campaign as something really cool and oldschool, and yet very mysterious as to the plot. When I went to see it, the pre-show had me thinking I was gonna see a horror film about VD that was something like Cabin Fever. Not good when you have a pizza comin'. Luckily, that was only half right, if even that. Basically, the film is about a succubus, and it ends up coming after you much like a sexually transmitted disease, because that's how it's passed on. If you have sex with someone the thing is stalking, it will start stalking you, and that other person is in the clear until it gets the most recent person to have sex in the line. So, if you want to postpone the creature killing you, you have sex with someone else so it'll get off your back for a while. In the film, a girl of around 18, 19, or so (if I remember correctly) who is very attractive, and also maybe a little promiscuous? I know that makes me sound like an old fuddy duddy, but how else can you put it? But, nowadays, it seems like everyone is. Except for those like myself, who couldn't even get a date by paying for it. So, I'm not sure the word "promiscuous" really means anything anymore, but I guess its hinting at being a horror film that is down on premarital sex is part of why this film gets a lot of cred for being oldschool. That, and the very cool fact that it takes its time, making itself very atmospheric and creepy. It's a very effective horror film. Oh, and the creature, it can look like anyone it wants, including people you know. Yeah, it's a pretty intense movie. I can get behind the idea that it is kinda like on oldschool horror film, and it's very good over all. It does have one issue though. Besides the fact that watching people half my age have frequent sex like it's a handshake is incredibly frustrating when I'm still fantasizing about finding someone who will makeout with me. No, the problem with this one is that it lacks any fun factor. Remember how Lauri Strode's friends in "Halloween", or all those kids in the Friday the 13th films, had great or at least vibrant personalities and were highly entertaining and fun to be around? Just like in the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, the young people in "It Follows", until shit gets real, they're just laying around being Abercrombie models. They really don't have much personality. At least, they don't have very entertaining ones. They're not very likable or relatable. They're kinda just... there. I mean, the situation is fascinating enough and gets thrilling enough that you gradually get invested, but really, these are some boring kids when they're not being slutty. The movie, however, is not boring. I'm just pointing out something that would have made it waaay better and waaaay more oldschool. As it is, it's a great film once things get scary, but before that, it's not fun, it's just... there. It is worth watching once it does get going though. I recommend it, I just wish they'd fix that issue first. I realize a lot of people nowadays just lay on the couch getting stoned and giving each other no-strings-attached handies (and everything else), but when you're watching that in a movie, it makes the characters kinda pathetic. Ha, but seriously, the movie is good. Maybe the world wouldn't have been losing much if these characters got killed, but it still turns into a spooky right once things get going.

And that's it for now. I really gotta get to bed. Laters!

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