Insidious: Chapter 3
Despite its title, Insidious: Chapter 3 actually takes place before the events of the first two Insidious films, but rest assured that this horror prequel is a cheap rip-off all the same. Insidious screenwriter Leigh Whannell makes his directorial debut, basically telling the origin story of Lin Shaye's psychic medium supporting character, thus answering a number of questions that no one in the audience ever cared to ask. When a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott, a budding star if she ever escapes this sort of dreck) attempts to contact her dead mother, she awakens a malevolent spirit that traps her soul between the mortal world and an undead kingdom called The Further. I leapt out of my chair at least half a dozen times, but only because of the punishingly loud soundtrack spikes that accompany every jump-scare. The terror that will truly stick with me is Dermot Mulroney's “How-did-I-get-here?” performance as the girl's father. D.B.