“Insidious: The Last Key” stars Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Josh Stewart, and Caitlin Gerard. Released on January 5, 2018, the film has Elise Rainier facing her past when she is called upon to investigate supernatural disturbances in a family home.
The film is directed by Adam Robitel, who also directed The Taking of Deborah Logan, and it is the fourth installment in the Insidious film series. Yep, we are starting the new year with a horror movie once again. Well, technically, it’s a sequel to a horror movie, but you get the idea. The Insidious films have been pretty successful at the box office even though they’re not in the same veins as Evil Dead or The Exorcist in terms of critical reception. I think the only installment I saw in theaters was Insidious: Chapter 3 back in 2015, which I thought was actually pretty good. I wasn’t really excited to see this one because…well, it’s a horror sequel, and horror sequels always tend to perform worse than the originals. Another reason is that I wasn’t really into the franchise to begin with. However, I was interested in seeing where they’re going in terms of the story, so there’s that. Like most horror films, I’m not expecting this one to be the next Exorcist or the next Get Out because that would be impossible. With that said, let’s delve right into The Further once again.
Like the previous installment, “The Last Key” takes place sometime before the events of Insidious. The story once again focuses on Elise Rainier (Shaye), who takes on another job at ridding supernatural beings that are disturbing a new family home, only to discover that the house she’s exploring in is her childhood home. If you’re familiar with the other Insidious films, you can expect plenty of similar elements that made the franchise creepy and thrilling, like the dark lighting, the atmosphere, and, of course, the entities that came from The Further. The film also attempts to further explore the character of Elise and provide a more personal challenge for her. While this premise alone has its moments, it sadly wasn’t enough to prevent the story from falling into familiar horror territory. Granted, the film did a nice job at tying the franchise together, but if they’re attempting to make a character-driven story filled with supernatural elements, they could’ve done a lot better in my opinion. Like I said before, it has a few moments that made me care for Elise, but its execution on the overall plot was pretty underwhelming. Not even the amount of scares were enough to make the experience terrifying. Yes, even the “jump scare” ones. Moving on to the pros, Lin Shaye delivered another solid performance as Elise, and its dark-lighted atmosphere did its part once again in creating the film’s sense of creepiness and terror. Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell also reprised their roles as Tucker and Specs, respectively, who are somehow the comic reliefs of the film. While their performances were enjoyable for the most part, their attempts at being comedic ranged from flat to just being OK. I would also give credit to the people behind the design of Keyface, the film’s main antagonist with long key-like fingernails. While not nightmare-inducing, the way they made this type of entity is truly a frightening sight.
Overall, “Insidious: The Last Key” offers a likable performance from Lin Shaye and its terror-filled atmosphere that the franchise is known for. However, in terms of its storytelling and its amount of scares, they’re not enough to help the film escape from The Further. It had the right idea of placing its focus on Elise’s past and her struggle to face it. It just needed to stick close to that idea instead of always relying on its familiar horror elements. It had a few moments that I found tolerable, but other than that, it’s a big step down from Insidious: Chapter 3. If you like the Insidious films for what they were, you might or might not like this latest installment. If not, then this isn’t your cup of tea.