Horror Films: A License to Thrill’

Insidious Chapter 3, a movie so much more than just a teen horror.



By Emilia McKay

For any paranormal fans, like myself, I find myself reading deeper into a story than others, further than the initial concept. Insidious 3 is not only based on demons and other nasty’s, but on astral projection and mediumship. A concept that may seem far-fetched to some, however can seem a little more real to others.

Insidious 3 is one of the most recent in the wave of shockers, so what is it that draws us to pay for a good fright?

Without getting too deep on the paranormal and psychological thrillers psychology-wise, Sigmund Freud explains in a citation that horror derives from ‘The Uncanny’, a term used to describe anything out of character of the norm.

Whereas a psychological based horror is something we could almost, to an extent, control, paranormal based horror is something we cannot physically control. Without distractions, we get invested in the plot and the characters, and we know that physically, we’re unable to control the unknown. The less likely we’re able to predict a story, the more likely we are to succumb to the shock factor. This also falls into writing skills and general cinematography, and when these are executed well, the viewer is more likely to respond, vocally or physically.

Lack of light and filters also change the atmosphere. Grungy, heavy and dark scenarios are more often associated to darker feelings, and this is what we mentally prepare ourselves for. The little voice in your head tells you to brace yourself for what may pop up at you on the screen.

The unexpected. Feelings of suspense, mystery and shock can be created through tension. Often these can be formed in the cinematic universe via the medium of music, or to some extent complete silence can work. Sound effects of crunching bones, or the deep vocal range of the rather scary entity facing off with the protagonist can change shock to constant fear. And we’re paying for this.

When it comes to horror, especially in a franchise such as Insidious, and Insidious 3 in particular, comedy, no matter how cathartic, can actually lull you into a false sense of security, almost like it’s preying on your vulnerability. Then, the moment you least expect anything to happen, you encounter an overly large face peering right into your soul on the big screen. A loud screeching noise on the surround sound system at your local cinema gives the added edge, making your popcorn spill over the couple in front of you. It’s an intentional tactic, and we know what we’re doing every time we go and see another horror. We leave ourselves susceptible to having our emotions played with, all at our own expense.

Leigh Whannell, director and writer of Insidious Chapter 3, has incorporated these elements into this series. Based on the theory that the majority of paranormal phenomena occur in the darker hours, as opposed to day time, quick changes of camera direction, music, tension, and great editing, we get shock after shock.

For some of us horror fans, we go to the movies because we’re interested in a certain element. Insidious 3 gives us an interesting concept with regards to The Further. It’s a place accessible from the astral plane. Bearing in mind horror is made for the shock value, how much we want to scare ourselves; it is also made for the curious, the adventurous. We understand the fictional side, however intrigue also pulls us in, as we want to know what the director and the writer defines as scary, as paranormal. We want to see their vision, and how it differentiates, and we compare.

We compare to what we’ve seen before, where it ranks in our personal top 10, and we make judgement.

I personally compare my favourite horrors on how often I jump, or if I have another weird dream or not that night. Leigh Whannell did his job, and did it well.