In My Humble Opinion: Insidious: Chapter 3 is another exciting installment in the Insidious franchise that opens the door to further possible sequels…or prequels depending on how you look at it. Although it’s titled Insidious: Chapter 3, the movie itself is actually a prequel, taking place some years before the events of the first two films. During the movie the audience is given bits and pieces to the backstory of our favorite paranormal psychic Elise Rayner portrayed by Lyn Shaye. Her character’s backstory accompanied by what transpires in this installment ties all three movies together very well. In this film Elise reluctantly agrees to use her psychic abilities to help a teenage girl reach out to her mother who passed away a year earlier. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will just say that Elise’s reluctance is well founded, because once she gives in and agrees to help Stephanie Scot’s character Quinn Brenner, all hell breaks loose.
I’ve typically found movies that restrict the audience from seeing the danger can prove to be the scariest. In Jaws, you don’t see the shark for like the first three quarters of the movie? Paranormal Activity you never really see anything physical. Surely I could go on and on but my point is movies like this feed the audience’s imagination in order to scare them. Well, Leigh Whannell, who wrote all three Insidious films and makes his directorial debut with this installment, has a sixth sense when it comes to the horror genre. Whannell has a way showing you what might frighten you, showing you the danger, and still scaring the shit out of you. Not one of his incarnations; Jigsaw, The Bride In Black, The Man Who Can’t Breathe, Red- Faced Demon, etc. have failed to instill terror and fear. Bottom line, Insidious: Chapter 3 is definitely worth checking out and Leigh Whannell will continue to emerge as a go to guy when it comes to horror films.
In My Humble Opinion: The new Poltergeist remake serves as another nail in the coffin when it comes to the idea of movie remakes. Don’t get me wrong, the idea isn’t completely dead and there have been a few remakes that proved it can be done, and done well. Unfortunately for every Cape Fear or Nutty Professor type remake that succeeds, there is a mass of Total Recall, Red Dawn, Halloween, types that unseat my confidence in the whole idea of remakes. Poltergeist, unfortunately is another remake that not only shows how bad remakes can be, but just how bad movies themselves can be.
Poltergeist stars Sam Rockwell (which is part of the reason I was hoping this movie would do well, he’s awesome!) and Rosemarie DeWitt as married couple Eric and Amy Bowen. When we first meet the couple and their three children, the family is in the process of buying a new home. Amy doesn’t work and is contemplating on writing a novel, while Eric has recently been laid off from his employer. Hopefully, after reading that, you’re thinking the same thing I was when I watched the movie. Neither parent is working, but they’re buying a home? What is this, the great market crash all over again? Anyway, if you’ve seen the original then you know the basic storyline. A poltergeist begins terrorizing the family, all in an attempt to kidnap the youngest of the Bowens, little daughter Caroline so she can lead all the tortured souls “into the light.” Although in this version the youngest daughter’s name is Maddison (Yeah, cause that will surely distinguish this movie from the original). Spooks and scares ensue, or least that’s what I think the filmmakers were trying to do, before an expert is brought in to save the Bowen family, yada yada yada.
Forget that the movie is a remake for a second, and you still find yourself thinking, “God, this movie is just really…bad!” Never mind the fact that the movie doesn’t deliver up a single scare; the writing is all over the place with no real continuity leaving you with a feeling that the movie was being mapped out as it was being filmed. As far as the performances, the actors themselves seem to be disappointed with the fact that they agreed to be in the movie in the first place. The most evident aspect of this is Sam Rockwell. The normally engaging and magnetic actor is dulled down to a morose, sad sack father with no real passion whatsoever. All in all, the movie was a huge disappointment and the only thing haunting about the movie is the fact that it was ever green lit in the first place.
In My Humble Opinion: The 1996 film The Frighteners is a generally forgotten film when it comes to horror movies. Granted, it’s far from the scariest movie out there, but it’s a truly entertaining picture that successfully blends both the horror and comedy genre together. The 1996 film written & directed by Peter Jackson was the last film he wrote, produced, and directed before descending upon Middle Earth and becoming a household name for his Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit trilogies. The film stars a young Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, a psychic paranormal investigator who is haunted by the loss of his wife, who died in a car accident years prior. Plagued with grief, Bannister now uses his ability to see and interact with ghosts to con people out of money in order to make ends meet. Low and behold his abilities and integrity are put the test when the “Grim Reaper” turns up in the small town Bannister inhabits to continue a murder spree that was put in motion many years earlier (I’m trying to avoid spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet so I’ll end the description here).
Considering the movie was released in 1996 the special effects are surprisingly impressive. The “ghosts” embody what I imagine we all typically envision when we think of what ghosts would look like if they existed in real life. The “Grim Reaper” is a digitally created nightmare that, despite the movies comedy chops, instantly reminds you why the film is considered horror as well. The New Zealand – American film was a moderate success grossing $29.3 million at the box office compared to its $26 million budget. The film earned Saturn nominations for writing, directing, special effects, music, and certainly put Peter Jackson on the map with regards to his writing and directing abilities. If you haven’t seen the film yet I strongly encourage you to check it out, especially with Halloween approaching. If you have seen it, make some time to break out of the repetitive viewing of other classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare and Elm Street, and re-discover this commonly overlooked horror classic.