HORROR; 2hr 4min
STARRING: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
Cecilia “Cee” Kass (Moss) is a nervous wreck in Insidious: Chapter 3 director Leigh Whannell’s nervy update of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel, and she has everything under the sun to be petrified about. Architect Cee is on the run from the San Francisco oceanfront fortress of her control-freak boyfriend, Adrian Griffin (Jackson-Cohen). Little does she know that she can’t run fast enough: before staging his suicide (as you do), optics trailblazer Adrian cornered the market in invisibility via whiz-bang tech and is now stalking and victimising Cee to the depths of a head-spinning hell.
Although Adrian is undetectable, Cee, like an animal sensing an aggressor, starts to feel him lurking. Too bad for her that (a) mere lurking isn’t the half of it and (b) the friends with whom she’s sought refuge (Hodge as police officer James and Reid as his teenage daughter, Sydney), and in whom she confides, both believe she’s sliding round the bend. (As you would.) James and Sydney are spot-on, in a way: invisible demons are a classic definition of insanity, and even though Cee’s experiences are acutely real, she’s still crumbling in the assaultive face of them.
Moss has a lot going on this freaky mental crawl space. For an actor, when your torturer is empty air, your every reaction must command the moment, and this time out command it at an unrelenting pitch of suspicion and terror. So while Whannell’s screenplay is spiked with well-earned scares and the suspense attached to them is constant, his tilt at mad science—the sixth movie to tackle it, Abbott and Costello included—keeps the main focus on Moss’s mobile, stricken face. Haunted by a living spectre, her Cee is a Rubik’s cube of suffering.