Arriving in theaters June 5th is Insidious: Chapter 3. The next installment in Blumhouse’s hit horror franchise travels back to the origins of the Insidious saga, following Lin Shaye’s psychic medium, Elise, as she uses her ability to contact the dead and help save a teenage girl being targeted by a new demon from The Further. Leigh Whanell, who wrote the first two films and co-created the franchise with James Wan, makes his directorial debut. The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, and Whannell himself.
Tuesday night, at the Ace theater in Downtown L.A., Leigh Whannell and Producer Jason Blum premiered the new trailer on the big screen for a crowd of fans, and answered a few questions in a brief Q&A. As for the trailer, I caught a look when it surfaced online the day before, and I liked it, but the trailer plays much better on the big screen. In particular, the crunchy-bone cast-breaking sequence got a big reaction from the audience. I like the Insidious world, and all the buzz I’ve heard on Insidious 3 is extremely positive, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Whannell can do in the director’s chair.
Check out the new trailer and the ten things we learned about Insidious 3 below.
- Whannell didn’t want to make the third film about the Lambert family (Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson) because they’ve already been through so much. He said, “We’d have to make the tagline ‘Yes…they’re being haunted again‘.” Blum joked it would be like the Taken franchise of supernatural horror.
- He then decided that he wanted to use Lin Shaye’s beloved psychic character, Elise, as the connective tissue to the first two films. Based on that decision he opted to make Chapter 3 a prequel so that Elise could be the vibrant, eccentric character fans fell in love with in the first film.
- That said, the new film will explore a different side of Elise’s character and show how she became the woman in the first film. Insidious 3 opens with a much darker version of the character and shows us how she changes. The third film is Elise’s story. We also get to see how she met Specs and Tucker.
- Forget about the red-faced demon, the new boogieman Whannell imagined for in Insidious 3 is his favorite one yet. “Selfishly…part of me is like, ‘No, don’t be an ass, say one of the other demons’, but I actually love this guy. This is my first time directing, so there’s so much emotional attachment to this film…I really love the demon, for the lack of a better term, that we created as the villain for this film. He doesn’t really have a name.”
- Whannell and Blum agree that the best horror movies come from low-budget filmmaking. “When you have a framework to work in, people get more creative.” I don’t think you can make a really effective horror film with a high budget. You can make a lot of effective films in a lot of genres with a lot of money – sci-fi, action films – but horror is served well by low-budgets. What could you possibly do with more money? To me, CG and huge effects – that’s not scary at all.” He continued, “I don’t think it’s an accident that all the great and successful horror films of the last 20 years have been independent films.”
- Blum’s favorite part of the Insidious films is the unexpected humor. He said, “One of my favorite things about Insidious versus lots of other scary movies is that there’s a lot of fun-ness and lightness and fun to it, which you don’t often associate with horror. That’s my favorite part of Insidious. It’s the fun along with it, so it’s scary, but also funny and fun.”
- Whannell does not like it when you change his dialogue. He recalled an encounter with Blum from the first film, “Rose and Patrick Wilson, as actors do, they changed a few lines of dialogue. I wasn’t on set that day, but my attitude when I found out about it was, ‘you might as well have opened up my chest open-heart surgery style and just nicked at my heart.’ I sat up all night, didn’t sleep, composing this huge letter. As I was walking towards the set – God just made you drive in front of me – you were like ‘hey buddy, what are you doing?’ I was like, ‘I’m giving this to Rose.’ This is what you did – you read the letter, you folded it up, and you put it in your pocket. I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and you said, ‘I’m saving you from yourself.’ [laughs]”
- Unlike a lot of directors, who harp on the difficulties of the job, Whannell had a lot of fun at the helm. “It is a tough job, but the thing that surprised me the most is that it’s fun.” Blum added that this is one of his films where he was not presence on set. He explains, “If you love this movie, it’s all Leigh. If you don’t like it, that’s also Leigh.”
- The failure of Dead Silence helped bring about the success of Insidious. Whanell explained, “Dead Silence was definitely a lesson for James and I. We were so new to the Hollywood film industry. Straight off the boat. We didn’t have any clue what we were doing at all. We knew what we liked, but we got wrapped up in this studio deal, and it was hard for us to navigate that studio system because we weren’t use to it…I don’t think Dead Silence turned out the way we wanted it to and the failure of Dead Silence, in our eyes, lead to Insidious. Because we had so much trouble in the studio system when Jason came to us and asked, ‘Do you want to make independent films at my company? There’ll be no notes.’ That was so great for us.”