Leigh Whannel, 2015, Canada-USA
A prequel to the 'Insidious' franchise that has psychic Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) helping teenager Quinn (Stefanie Scott) to fend off a demon… ghost… thingy. A shadow waving through a window is creepy indeed but otherwise the jump-scares here are poor imitation for atmosphere. Ambience requires moody lighting, especially turned up to eleventy when Elise speaks of scary things. The dialogue is risible. The characters barely tick boxes: dad doesn’t understand the teenage generation – tick; a younger brother being an annoying younger sibling – tick; a neighbour boy fumbling his way through a crush – tick; etc. Nothing seems to lead on to anything consequential: for example, the neighbour’s crush disappears (it’s just there to allow for the knock-knock scare); the younger brother has nothing to do; the moment where Quinn walks on broken legs has no lingering effects afterwards (hey, she’s fine!) and when Elise tells the guys to record her trip into the other dimension… well, that contributes nothing. Also, for the record, Quinn surely qualifies for the most unconvincing physical injuries ever. And then we go into The Further. *snigger* At one point, one of the aggravating stock comic relief ghost hunters says that the name The Further is “cool”, and it’s hard to know if the film is being insistent or having a little fun at its own expense. And for what it’s worth, The Further is nothing more than a gloomy, ill-lit ghost house where Elise bullies victim’s spectres for help and says “Come on, bitch!” to aggressive others. One could try to find a message of overcoming fear here, but… nope. It gets worse as it goes on. Long before Darth Maul cameos at the end for the final nonsensical send-off jump-scare, you’ve long since realised you’re watching a pile of sloppy, uncaring shit.