We’ve arrived at the 4th instalment of the “Insidious” franchise, and as with a lot of sequels, it precedes the first film. Ordinarily I’d say “spoiler alert” but the fact that they tell you the year the film is set already gives that away. And the fact that Elise is alive and well.
“Insidious: The Last Key” focuses on the origin story of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), and begins with her childhood, where she suffers physical abuse at the hands of her father (Josh Stewart) and battles with her ability to see ghosts in the house. Fast-forward to 2010, where we meet the familiar Elise and her two assistants (Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson), who are called to Elise’s old childhood home to attend to the strange happenings that are still occurring, according to the new resident, Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo).
What ensues is a butt-load of jump-scares. We all know that silence is what we have to fear in a horror movie, and there’s a lot of it in “Insidious: The Last Key”. The only problem is, the film really relies on this as the sole form of scares. The main villain, who is un-inspiringly named “Key Face”, is fairly weak as far as demons go, and the big face-off
“Insidious: The Last Key” ventures outside the realm of the supernatural this time around, focusing on the demons within, as well as the ones controlling the people around them. It also sees the characters battle with what’s real, and what’s not, which consequently means it’s not just Elise that gets to get in on the action.
The issue with “The Last Key” is it’s very scattered, and seems all over the place. Imagine you get an ice-cream with 70% vanilla, and 30% macadamia nut flavour, all of which is found at the very bottom of the cone. That’s kind of what “The Last Key” is like. Majority vanilla and a little bit of excitement at the very end. There are scenes that seem irrelevant and form more of a time-filler than anything else. Whannell and Sampson are back in the roles of Specs and Tucker respectively, intended as the comic relief, but the humour seems forced and at times, rather cringe-worthy.
The ‘key’ metaphor seems a bit weak as well, as it’s not played through effectively throughout the film. The keys as symbols are fairly stale, and unneeded, and the movie would probably be better off known as “Insidious: One Woman’s Quest to Avenge her Father’s Sins”.
On the bright side, Shaye is a fantastic lead, especially for a 74-year old woman. “The Last Key” is kind of her spinoff film, as overall the film doesn’t really further the “Insidious” series, but is decent enough as a standalone film. And I did leave the theatre feeling like I needed a new heart and a change of pants, which is all I ever really ask for from a horror film.