Pre-“The Invisible Man,” Leigh Whannell proved himself a genre maestro with “Insidious: Chapter 3” (2015). In his directorial debut, Whannell pulled triple duty, once again writing the screenplay and co-starring, while also stepping behind the camera. A prequel to the first two entries, “Insidious: Chapter 3” shifts the focus from the Lambert family to Stefanie Scott’s Quinn Brenner, a young woman whose efforts to contact her late mother instead put her in touch with all manner of ghostly monsters, most notably Michael Reid MacKay’s The Man Who Can’t Breathe.
As an origin for the team-up of Lin Shaye’s Elise Rainier with demonologists Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), the franchise’s perennial comedic relief, “Insidious: Chapter 3” is delightful. Whannell does more than simply ape Wan, instead finding his own rhythm to mount scare after scare. The earliest entry in the franchise chronologically, “Chapter 3” additionally expands on the background of Shaye’s Rainier. While killed in the first film, Rainier remains an “Insidious” mainstay, the series’ equivalent of horror hero, the Further’s own Ellen Ripley or Ash Campbell. It’s a tender origin story for Rainier, one explored in, well, further depth in the next entry.