Despite the ominous "riding the wave" feel of the third installment, it held up well in respect to the first two films. In fact, there are many reasons I enjoyed the third installment more than the second (the first is head and shoulders above the sequels). The directing was a clear "try to do it as close to Wan as possible" method, but it worked through most of the film. The writing was
The Insidious franchise has developed a mastery of many horror film traits. The atmosphere, legitimate scares, and unsettling imagery deliver what you would expect from a horror model that has been an effective craft of late. But this film carries on a different trait that sets it above other horror films of the 2000's. This film has a creative method of building character and identity for its supernatural antagonist. Like Poltergeist, the ethereal villain has no menacing monologues or ancient lore to tell their story. Their character is built in imagery and subtle hints and visual metaphors scattered throughout the movie.
Sure, our heroine who has spanned all three films seems to have some knowledge of nearly every beasty lurking in the Further, but even she only gives you vague, ominous clues to the spirit's intentions, goals, needs, and behavior. While the second film primarily featured the woman in black (a repeat character from the first film), the third installment returned to the roots of the first film, giving us a soul-thirsty minion for which to fear.
Like the demon, this evil spirit is after souls. But not to possess them...to collect them. He forces, persuades, and manipulates his victims to suicide, then keeps their souls in the Further limbo as his captors. While we get no direct explanation as to why, like Michael Myers, simply the how is enough to keep you enthralled in its process and the protagonists' survival.
The film was a debacle of acting, a relatively common theme that all horror fans must trudge through every once in a while, which made the film a difficult watch for the first half hour or so. But suddenly the poor acting and Full [Haunted] House-style writing was not enough to deter one from the Further-side of things. Which is why I give this film a B-. Yes, we're grading the films now....Well...no, we're not...