When the audience was first introduced to psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) in Insidious (2010), we saw her meet a tragic end after preventing evil spirits from trapping a young couple’s comatose child in a realm called The Further.
The death was not only a shock to Elise’s assistants – Specs and Tucker – but also to the audience. She was a kindly woman who was willing to take big risks to help others. Surely one doesn’t just kill heroes like her, right?
Luckily, director James Wan had always planned on bringing the character back – Elise returned in the second film as a ghost to help out the same couple. Now, in the third Insidious film – Insidious: Chapter 3 – the audience gets to see Elise’s origin story and how she got into the business of helping people face supernatural disturbances.
In a transcript provided by Sony Pictures, the 71-year-old American actress said: “You learn who Elise is before she meets Specs and Tucker, before we meet her in the first Insidious. Elise is not in the best place – to say the least – at the beginning of Chapter 3 … She has pretty much given up her gift of helping people because of certain events in her own life.”
For better or worse, the course of Elise’s life changes forever when she meets teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott), who strikes an emotional chord in Elise and convinces her to once again to try to help others by using her gifts.
In the beginning of the film, all Quinn wants is to communicate with her dead mother. Then, strange things begin to happen around Quinn which forces Quinn’s father (Dermot Mulroney) to seek out Elise’s help.
Shaye said this origin story will reveal some of Elise’s fears and provide an insight into her special abilities. The audience will also understand Elise’s need to help others solve their supernatural problems. We also see how she meets Specs and Tucker. Specs, by the way, is played by Chapter 3 director Leigh Whannell.
“She is a very rich and complex character,” said Shaye. “And this chapter is going to show you some of other sides of her. She is a very emotional person who has a lot of love in her. I feel that one of the reasons James Wan cast me in the first film was because he saw something in me connected to Elise that was important for his storytelling. I was honoured … and still am!”
According to Shaye, she shares a couple of qualities with her character. “We both love to laugh. Also, I consider myself to be a spiritual person; I like to be a listener and an observer … I believe that the energy you put out into the world is the kind of energy that will come back to you: negative brings negative; positive brings positive.”
Shaye described Chapter 3 as a film about possession by a demon that can cause bodily harm. “Insidious: Chapter 3 is going to be scary in ways people are not expecting. It is not only traditionally scary, but it taps into the fears we have of real life problems. Even the demon is a sadly somewhat “recognisable” presence. (Director) Leigh Whannell, when asked by the FX department about the kind of demon he was thinking of, answered: ‘If cancer had a face, what would it look like?’”
Whether Chapter 3 marks the last time we have seen Elise is yet to be known. Shaye, however, hoped her character would continued to use her gifts for a long time. “(I hope) Leigh Whannell keeps finding amazing stories to tell with Elise in them! And, of course, we all hope that the fans continue to join us! Insidious: Chapter 3: Into the future we go … and we hope to keep going further and further!”
Insidious: Chapter 3 opens in cinemas nationwide today.