The other night, at our local Cinemark, we purchased the biggest tub of popcorn they had and scrambled up the steps past rows of stadium seating to our favorite spot in the center of the top row. The movie was Insidious: The Last Key, and due to my poorly controlled, disruptive reactions to scene after scene, the last row was a good place for us.
The Insidious franchise, starring Lin Shaye as psychic Elise Rainier, contains four films. We saw them in the order they were released since 2010. The first two told consecutive, related stories, but the next two episodes are prequels. This can be a little confusing, so now that they’ve all been released, a great way to watch them is in the story’s chronological order, rather than their release dates. Here’s a guide:
Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
Elise Rainier, a magnet for bad spirits, wants out of the psychic business, but she soon realizes only she can help a young woman, Quinn Brenner, who is the victim of an evil entity from beyond. In this episode, Elise reluctantly teams up with two charlatan ghost hunters, Specs and Tucker.
Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
Psychic Elise receives a mysterious phone call from a man who has purchased the haunted home where she lived as a child. She must go back home and deal with unfinished family business, both in the real world and beyond. Specs and Tucker, gaining courage and credibility, go along for the ride.
The first-ever release in the Insidious series tells the story of the Josh Lambert family, victims of a haunting that follows them from house to house. Psychic Elise Rainier is called onto the case, because she has a long history with this family. Specs and Tucker, as capable assistants and comic relief, assist.
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
Picking up immediately after the previous episode, Specs and Tucker take the lead, and Elise provides first-hand knowledge of the spirit world to rid the Lambert family of its curse once and for all. But is this really possible?
Lin Shaye, who plays the heroine in all the Insidious episodes, lends an intriguing combination of vulnerability and steel to her role. Shaye has been dubbed the scream queen because of her many roles in scary movies over the past four decades.
Specs and Tucker, played by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, respectively, provide humorous breaks from the many scenes that make the movie lover jump out of her seat. Incidentally, Whannell is the also the principal writer of the series.
Watching the Insidious franchise in story chronological order provides better clarity than doing so in the order of release, but if that’s not possible, don’t worry, each episode provides an ample amount of independent frightful moments.
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