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FRANCHISE RANKED: Insidious

Director James Wan creates imaginative and strong films that mark the beginnings of franchises that seem to simply fall apart at the seams after being set loose from its first endeavor, and Insidious is no different. With the atmospheric first film being it's ultimate climax, and its fire-faced lipstick demon being its greatest villain, each later entry to the series progressively drops the ball little by little.


Without upping the ghouls and scares, the Insidious franchise stagnates quickly, but a few redeeming factors still find their way through the further. The original on its own floats towards the top of the list of contemporary horrors, and the following chapters do a nice job of weaving in and out of, and…

  • Insidious

    1.Insidious

    ★★★★½

    Insidious is all about atmosphere and the unrelenting way that it unnerves you before you even realize that it's effecting you. The franchise starts off strong here, certainly its strongest entry, with characters that are not only original and interesting, but that also feel natural to the story, unlike those of its forced sequels. This film has ingenuity, cool design both visually and through its layout of story, and one of horror's most spine-tingling surprise shots. If Insidious had never gotten a sequel, it may have been better off.

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  • Insidious: Chapter 2

    2.Insidious: Chapter 2

    ★★★½

    Insidious: Chapter 2 continues the story of the Lambert family right where the last one left off, only it leaves everything that made the first movie great at the front door. Instead of bringing scares, it ups its camp value and goes for quirk and comedy. The highlight of the film is its continuity, with events that intertwine within the events of the first, helping to explain and make sense of the story as a whole. Otherwise, Chapter 2 can't stand on its own legs.

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  • Insidious: Chapter 3

    3.Insidious: Chapter 3

    ★★★

    Insidious: Chapter 3 feels mostly like a made for TV rip-off or, at the very least, a side chapter that really isn't very important to the story at all. It's most interesting aspects are started upon but never followed through and while it's great to see Lin Shaye finally take the lead, it's unfortunate that it's in a vehicle that doesn't really use her for any good. This is just a bunch of forced nothingness that continues the series steadily on a downhill slope.

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  • Insidious: The Last Key

    4.Insidious: The Last Key

    ★★

    I really want to like this franchise. I really do. But just when I think they couldn't possibly do any worse than the last entry, they prove me wrong. I have to give Insidious credit for being 4 movies into a series that has a woman in her 70's as its lead, because that is unheard of in any genre, and Lin Shaye herself is a treat. I just wish the material was better here. Unfortunately, All the scares, all the humor, and a potentially decent story seem to be locked away behind a red door.

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