Movie Review(s): Poltergeist & Insidious: Chapter 3 (English)

Poltergeist
Watching Poltergeist (an unnecessary 3D reboot, in my opinion) and Insidious: Chapter 3 has sort of convinced me of the law of diminishing returns. After all, what more can you do? (On a side note, I really wanted to watch It Follows, but somehow couldn't make it to the theatres in time.) Both these films play out like any other cinematic hauntings in recent times like The Conjuring, Annabelle, Ouija and The Woman in Black, featuring mostly derivative jump scares that feel like they have been taken off a standard how-to-scare-the-audience checklist. So you have the creepy trees, unnerving abandoned spaces, clowns and most reliably, kids and teens to induce nerve-racking fear and paranoia. But that's not to say these tropes aren't effective, however overused they might be.

Insidious: Chapter 3
I thought the child abduction sequence in Poltergeist to be particularly well done (nothing else, sadly), and likewise the texting scene in Insidious. It brought about a genuine shiver in me, I will admit that! For what it's worth, Insidious fares better of the two, thanks to its genuinely creepy imagery and a terrific performance by Lin Shaye (as Elise, the medium) who gets to show an impressive histrionic range that belies a horror movie. Joseph Bishara, a frequent collaborator with James Wan, delivers on the music front too with a spine-tingling score. But the major problem here is that none of these are new to us. Mix up the title cards and the scenes, you would barely know the difference. That's how unremarkable these lazily plotted supernatural spookers have turned out to be - utterly forgettable the instant closing credits begin to roll.

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