IN THEORY I THOUGHT my idea would work. With the variety of items I needed to purchase as gifts for the holidays, I thought it made sense to go to one of those massive shopping centers. There was one within driving distance from my house; so picking a cloudy day, I drove out to the shopping center only to discover there were a lot of other people who had the same idea as mine. After some time driving up and down the aisles of parked cars, I found a space in the outer reaches or a better description would be, in the frozen tundra. Making my way to the indoor shopping center, I had a loose game plan on how I should navigate through the maze of stores that were on multiple levels. Once inside the warmth in temperature greeted me like a long lost relative. WITH MY MENTAL LIST of people who I needed to buy gifts for in my head, I maneuvered into the continuous stream of shoppers ahead of me. I felt like a worker ant falling into step. Almost every store I passed had some kind of sign stating a sale; with the amount of people everywhere one would have thought the stores were giving away stuff for dirt cheap. I went into one store and navigated my way to the department where I had to buy 1 of the needed gifts. Surprisingly the whole process was relatively painless, so I was able to move on to the next item rather quickly. However my luck quickly ran out at the next place. This store had unique items that were made exclusively for them and unfortunately they did not have in stock the one item I needed. Moving on I made my way to another store on a different level, hoping I could regain my shopping mojo. Sadly it was another strikeout; they had what I needed but not in the right color. When I left that store I had to stop for a moment to reorganize my list, thinking of other items I could get to replace what I initially wanted to buy as gifts. Not sure what I needed I found myself aimlessly wandering in and out of a bunch of stores, getting propelled forward by the ever present stream of shuffling shoppers. I soon came to the realization I had no idea where I was going or why I was there. Lo and behold I felt the same way about this latest installment of this horror mystery franchise. ELISE RAINIER, PLAYED BY Lin Shaye (There’s Something About Mary, Dead End), was used to hearing and seeing spirits. But she wasn’t prepared for what was waiting for her at the home she grew up in. With Leigh Whannell (Saw franchise, Cooties) as Specs, Angus Sampson (Winchester, Mad Max: Fury Road) as Tucker, Kirk Acevedo (The Thin Red Line, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Ted Garza and Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar) as Gerald Rainier; I could not tell you where this thriller fits into the time frame for the entire series. There were a few spooky scenes but out of the 4 films, this one was the least suspenseful. However I can tell you the humor on display was a relief since it forced the viewer to have some kind of an emotional response. I felt the script was listless and uninspiring; I did not feel a connection to any of the characters, though I liked Lin’s performance. Maybe it is time for the movie studio to regift this franchise and get it out of their hands.
1 ¾ stars
On the very fringe of the neighborhood there sat an old sagging house. Painted a long time ago in dark colors, it now looked like it was freckled and wrinkled. All the kids who lived around the area had heard an old witch lived in the house. When I would have to walk by the place I always did so at a faster pace. There were some kids who had a defiant streak in them. They would run a stick along the rungs of the long metal front gate, letting the staccato clanking noise talk for them. I had heard some kids late at night would throw stones at the front door then take off running before the witch would storm out to scream at them. As far as I could remember she was the only occupant of the house, though there were rumors that some unsuspecting children who lingered too long by the property were never found again. As time went by and I began high school, all the stories and rumors I had heard about the owner of the haunted house went to sleep in my mind. Years later I found myself at a party and struck up a conversation with a another guest who was familiar with my old neighborhood. As we were talking she mentioned her grandmother used to live near where I grew up. You know what I am going to say; it turned out her grandmother was the witch who lived in that old house that us kids were afraid to go near. I really wished I knew how the story about her grandmother being a witch had started in my old neighborhood. HOPING to make contact with her deceased mother; a young Quinn Brenner, played by Stefanie Scott (No Strings Attached, A.N.T. Farm-TV), paid a visit to psychic Elise Rainier, played by Lin Shaye (Take Me Home, There’s Something About Mary). Elise had to explain why she no longer gave readings and warned Quinn what could happen if one tried to contact the dead on their own. This third installment’s story in the horror film franchise was a prequel, before the Lambert family’s time. With Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding, About Schmidt) as Sean Brenner, this film festival winner did not have the same impact like the 1st one did for me. Lin was the strongest character out of the cast; it was understandable since she was reprising her role. Except for a couple of good fright scenes, I did not find this movie particularly scary. There were scenes that had stereotypical horror tricks like a sudden sound or quick appearance. The directing was okay, but I found the script somewhat generic with its plot. I was more afraid of that old woman from my childhood than this film.
1 3/4 stars