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Director: ‘Insidious’ goes to the dark side

TNS

Leigh Whannell has a teensy spoiler alert: Insidious: Chapter 3 is a tearjerker.

The Aussie screenwriter (Saw, Dead Silence, the first two Insidious movies) who co-created the franchise was in Miami to talk about his directorial debut in the prequel, out Friday.

Maddy Marr previews "Insidious: Chapter 3" and interviews director Leigh Whannell in Wynwood. Video by Mario Mateo/El Nuevo Herald Staff

“This film is a lot more emotional than the other ones,” says Whannell, who reprises his role as Specs, a supernatural investigator. “It’s more about grieving and loss. You may be surprised.”

He goes on to explain that No. 3 puts Lin Shaye — who plays Elise, a psychic who can communicate with the dead — in the spotlight.

“She’s maternal, she’s a caretaker,” he explains. “She sees someone in trouble and wants to help them, but she’s also a force of nature.”

But don’t worry, Insidious fans. Though you may be moved, you’ll still be scared out of your wits with this out-there ghost story.

“We’ve gone really dark with this one, more freaky,” Whannell promises. “It’s actually even more violent than the others. We tapped into something really primal for audiences.”

MORALITY TALE

Why is there almost always a Florida connection when it comes to controversy? New CBS reality show The Briefcase, 8 p.m. Wednesdays hasn’t won over too many critics. It “plumbs new depths,” writes columnist Leonard Pitts, for one.

The deal: Two struggling families are each given $101,000; they have the option of keeping the loot or giving part or all of it to the other family in need.

Last week’s family happened to be Big Pine Key couple John and Amanda Musolino and their three children. The others are Susan and Josh Scott from Maryland, “little people” who desperately want to adopt.

The Musolinos told The Keynoter the show was an emotional rollercoaster.

“America must think all I do is cry,” said Amanda, who was initially under the impression that producers were making a documentary about their lives. They discovered the true nature during the filming in March.

“It’s not about the money. The show has very little if anything to do with money,” The Briefcase’s creator Dave Broome, best known for creating The Biggest Loser for NBC, told EW. “It’s about love, communication within your marriage, finding a common bond between another family that might be incredibly different than yours. That’s what show is about.”

But it is kind of about the money: Amanda says they gave the Scotts $40,000; Susan reveals they gave the Keys couple 20K.

Everybody happy?

GETTING ARTSY

School’s out for summer but Cameron Diaz, Paula Abdul and Macy Gray are still in an education state of mind.

The three stars have joined a White House-sponsored initiative to help struggling schools through arts education. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education announced the expansion of the Turnaround Arts initiative Wednesday. Turnaround Arts is being expanded to 49 schools in 14 states; in South Florida they are Lake Forest Elementary in Pembroke Park, Mary M. Bethune Elementary in Hollywood and Walker Elementary in Fort Lauderdale.

“All children deserve to have access to the arts, not only to discover their passion, but as a tool to engage them in the joy of learning,” Diaz said in a statement.

MADELEINE MARR

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