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Synopsis: A young girl named Quinn is trying to get in touch with her mother so she hits up Elise. When Elise can’t help her, she basically forgets about it until she’s hit by a car. In the two seconds she’s dead, a demon attaches to her and she’s then tormented, tossed around like she’s made of whatever’s inside Stretch Armstrong, and gets possessed.
FINALLY this series has redeemed itself. It’s somewhat depressing that it took derailing itself from the first two movies almost entirely, but they did it and I can finally say with confidence that I loved this movie. Oh my god, did I love this movie.
Now, it’s not my new favorite or anything, but there was so much to like about this film compared to its predecessors that I was just so thankful to not be bored out of my mind and feel bad for tearing apart another James Wan movie.
The story starts off with this young woman named Quinn. She’s high school aged and is navigating her way through boys, high school, friendships, and the recent passing of her mother. In her futile attempts to contact her, Quinn decides to get in touch with Elise. Rather than use a phone, she just shows up at her house. The timeline is apparently before the Lamberts, the family from the first two movies, contacts Elise, so she’s currently going through some rough stuff and is still in a deep depression from the passing of her husband.
Elise tells Quinn she can’t help her, but then takes sympathy on the girl and does it anyway. When she tries to reach the other side, she comes into contact with who we later learn is the spirit of Parker Crane from the last film. His spirit, dressed as the old woman, constantly taunts Elise and tells her each time she visits The Further that she’ll kill her someday.
So she freaks out and tells Quinn to leave. When she does, she goes home to find her father frantically trying to get their small family ready for the day. He’s constantly shouting about how overwhelmed he is and, in the meantime, delivers some very cheesy lines. Quinn argues with him for a bit about how she has to study lines for an audition she has later that day to get into a really good school. Spoiler alert, she forgets her lines because her father is an asshole that would rather blame his daughter for being selfish than actually being a good parent. After her failed audition, which features a cameo of James Wan, himself, she goes to hang out on the side of the road with her pink-haired rocker chick best friend. After lamenting the fact that she’ll never get into the school she wants to, she sees someone standing in the road, goes to investigate, and is hit by a car.
This is the first of many sudden and extremely grueling jump scares. Not once are we tricked into being scared of something that isn’t scary, not once do we expect to see what we’re about to. This movie is the literal definition of a no holds barred adrenaline filled thrill ride.
So Quinn is hit by the car and dies for a few seconds. In those few seconds, she’s plunged into The Further and sees a man with an oxygen mask on his face.
We learn that this is some kind of demonic entity that feeds off the life source of his victims, taking pieces of their souls and tormenting them until he has all of them. He’s a very bad guy.
So now that he used the small window of time in which Quinn was dead to attach to her, she’s experiencing paranormal activity left and right. Anything from knocks on her wall to actual apparitions.
Are you catching this yet…? That this movie has a plot you can follow? That’s completely different than the last two movies!?!? Amazing, isn’t it?
After her accident Quinn is put on bed rest to heal her two broken legs. Surprising that’s all that’s wrong with her even though she was hit HARD. I actually watched someone get hit by a car once and followed their recovery afterwards, they had to relearn how to eat, drink, walk, etc. Were nearly in a full body cast for their entire month-long stay at the hospital and still have injuries to this day that affect them. It’s not something you can bounce back from.
As the entity gets closer and closer to her, she’s then thrown around like a rag doll. She’s nearly dropped from a window, twice lifted off of the ground and slammed back down onto it, and once she is even possessed by the thing and it breaks the cast off her legs only to have her wobble around on broken legs, crunching noises and all.
Thankfully, Quinn is smart and realizes pretty quickly the thing isn’t her mom and wants to hurt her. She tells her dad what’s going on and he reaches out to Elise.
Before he does though, Elise gets back in the game. She takes things into her own hands and with the support of her lovely dog I was sure would be ripped to shreds at some point since this is the first time we meet him, she channels the demon on her own after something tells her Quinn is in trouble.
She keeps saying she’s done with all the medium shit, but keeps going back because she cares so much for this girl with a demon attached to her. Hoenstly, through this whole movie Elise is like an entirely different character. It’s a shame that this is a prequel, because she really could have used the gumption she had in this film to kick ass in the other movies. I mean, it was there, but she wasn’t all “come at me, bitch” in the other movies like she was in this one. I really loved that we got to learn more about her and it seems like the attention is shifting from the Lamberts to Elise; a really smart choice if you ask me.
After Elise has her encounters and things begin to escalate at Quinn’s house, you’re never going to guess what happens next.
No, really. Guess. You won’t, I know it.
Get this; the brother character, rather than being lost in time and space like both of Dalton’s siblings in the other films COMES BACK.
YEAH I KNOW RIGHT!?
He comes back with a vengeance too, not only is he actively giving a shit about what his sister is going through, BUT he recommends that his father contact these two paranormal investigators that have a web series dedicated to their adventures in ghost hunting. These two are, of course, Specs and Tucker.
They get called and Elise ends up showing up out of the blue, you know, because she’s Elise, and the three help get the demon off of Quinn and the rest of her spirit back into her body. Here there’s a bit of a hint at past films, but it’s not like Josh and Dalton had to go back this time to rescue her.
While Elise is there, she’s making her way to the demon when Parker attacks her. She recalls that Carl told her she’s strong and alive and uses that to kick some ghost ass, following it up with “come on, bitch” in the most savage ass whoopin’ known to man.
She then finds her husband sitting on a bed who tries to convince her to kill herself so she can join him, but she’s too smart for his bullshit. She sees right through those fucking demon tricks and, in the second most savage ass whoopin’ know to man, slices through his neck. He’s then revealed to having been the demon all along and Elise grabs the eyeless, handless, crawling mess that is the other part of Quinn’s soul and brings it back to her body.
The mission is successful and Quinn is returned to her body. At the end, Elise is finally able to make contact with her mom and, in a very intense scene that definitely did NOT make me cry, she’s able to say goodbye. Elise then decides she doesn’t give a shit about depression and wants to get back into helping people with their paranormal problems, so she joins Specs and Tucker on their journey which later leads them to helping out the Lamberts in the first film.
But, because this is a James Wan movie, there’s more. Elise goes home, pets her dog that we forgot about until exactly now and are flooded with images of him being torn to shreds or sucked into The Further because…why not? Wait, was that just me? Sorry.
Anyway, Elise finds a sweater on the bed as a sign that her hubby is glad she didn’t off herself to be with him and turns around to find her dog barking at the door which is never a good sign. The camera pans to her face and viewers see the lipstick faced demon appear behind her before the screen goes black.
At that point, after reading the trivia for the second movie, I can only imagine the groans and complaints of the fans that thought he would be returning as the bad guy for the second movie.
I’m also kinda surprised that they didn’t include the Lipstick Faced Demon considering the only difference between him and The Man Who Can’t Breathe (the demon from this film) are essentially the same minus the affinity for puppets and Tiny Tim. I think including the LFD would have added more context to the first few films without going through the stress of introducing a new character.
This. movie. Was. So. Good. The jump scares terrified me, I as literally hiding under a blanket as I watched this, the cinematography was phenomenal, the lighting was exceptional, and the acting was superb. Somehow it seemed like this movie brought out the best in all of the actors in the film, even Carl.
Honestly, I liked this one better than the first, but we’ll see what happens when I do my official ranking at the end of reviewing this series.
The only thing I was bummed about was the fact that this was a prequel so we never find out what happened to the girl in the wheelchair at the end of the first film. If memory serves, the fourth film is also a prequel that delves into the childhood of Elise and explains a bit about how she discovered she was a medium, so I guess we’ll never find out. We’ll also never find out what the deal is with the Lipstick Face Demon at the end of this movie because if the next one goes even further back, there’s no way to further explain what he wants and what’s going on with him.
Year Released/Director: 2015/ directed by Leigh Whannell
(side note: OMG I had no idea he directed this one!!)
Rating: Not Terrible
Favorite Death: There’s this older woman named Grace that lives in the apartment building with our main characters that dies at one point in the film. She’s touted at this woman that is kinda between the spiritual and physical realms the whole time and perceived as mentally unstable. However, when she dies she uses that gift to help Elise when she’s doing the seance at the end find out that Quinn’s diary has a note from her mother in it that helps her spirit come through to save her daughter. I just thought it was great because she seems like a useless character until the very end and is all like, “no one is going to take me seriously unless my incessant ramblings happen from beyond the grave.”
Funniest Part: So there’s this part where, as the group is wrestling with possessed Quinn, the camera reveals an eye in the back of her throat. It’s completely random, never mentioned, and never explained.
Yeah, it’s a creepy thing, but why did it happen? WHANNELL, EXPLAIN!
Also, as I was watching the movie, there was trope after trope going on, broken elevators, mentally unstable old women, demons, knocks on walls, etc. it was all there and was fun to count them as they came. What I appreciated was that they didn’t distract from the movie all that much. They were well done and I allowed them because there was not a single thing that wasn’t terrifying when it came to jump scares.
What they did right: EVERYTHING! The lighting was superb, not a single jump scare was wasted, the camera angles were amazing, static shots made the movie seem more intense, just…oh my god this movie was so good.
Thoughts from Interviews:
When asked why they think this is the scariest chapter in the series, Leigh Whannell said it’s because its “so grounded in the reality of our daily lives.” He goes on to say “The two main characters of the film are these two strong women that are at different points in their lives but share a lot of the same problems…when we’re at a crossroads, we don’t know what to do…and that’s when we’re at our most vulnerable, and when you’re vulnerable, you let these spirits in; that’s when they attack…For me there was something very personal about this film…there was something about writing this third film that was so personal to me and it just made it all the more terrifying.”
Evidently, Lin did all of her own stunts and was thrilled to do so, especially in a film as physical as this one. I thought that was really interesting to learn!
In this interview with The girls who played Quinn and her friend.
They explain that you can both watch this movie without having seen the first one AND watch it in the context of the other films while learning more about the universe. Unlike the statement Patrick Wilson made in our last review, I actually agree with them this time.
Apparently before they started filming, Leigh hosted a movie night. They watched the Shining outdoors really late at night.
We also learned that Stefanie saw a psychic before filming. Stefanie states it was the “best hour and a half of [her] life.” It’s briefly mentioned in this interview, but I was able to find another interview in which she explained a bit more about it.
Apparently James Wan couldn’t direct the film because he was busy working on Fast and Furious 7 so Leigh took over. I don’t see why this is a thing though. They could have just rescheduled the film if they Wan-ted him to direct it so badly…see what I did there? Goodness, let Leigh have the spotlight for once!!
Elise’s dog in the film is named Warren after real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren portrayed in Wan’s other film, The Conjuring.
Leigh Whannell told casting that he wanted The Man Who Can’t Breath to look like the sloth victim in Se7en (1995). The same actor, Michael Reid MacKay, was cast for the role.
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