"Insidious: The Last Key" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
The "Insidious" franchise is either a hit or a miss. While none of them are excellent horror films, some have been much better than others. After an extremely disappointing "Insidious: Chapter 3", it was interesting to see how horrible the fourth installment of this series would be. Shockingly, "Insidious: The Last Key" is a decent horror movie that has the most character development in an "Insidious" film yet.
The film takes place after the third entry, but serves as another prequel to the first movie in the franchise. It is centered around Dr. Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) once again, as she is called back to her New Mexico childhood home to investigate into a paranormal disturbance. However, by doing that, she is unlocking the dark secrets of her past, forcing her to confront some of her deepest and darkest fears.
When she gets to the old house, accompanied by her colleagues Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), Elise realizes that there is a dark presence around the house that has been there since she was a young child. When her family now targeted by this demonic presence, she must do everything she can to finally put a stop to one of her biggest childhood fears, presenting the most daunting and challenging task for Elise yet.
This movie, as a whole, definitely contains the same vibe and energy as the third one, which is more light-hearted and easy to digest. Like mentioned in my review for "Insidious: Chapter 3", it seems like the filmmakers are departing from James Wan's earlier, darker approach to the story for a tone and vibe that is more accessible and easier for audiences that aren't horror fans to watch. It seems like for these past two movies, they are more worried about making money for the studio, rather than creating actual scares that will stick with the viewer as the credits roll.
For the third movie, I had a big problem with that as they didn't even make it remotely scary. But for this one, they are able to combine humor and horror together pretty well. Many of the jokes and gags hit very well, and they are accompanied by horrific images and scenes that can easily startle viewers. Sure, it may not be near the same level of scariness that was present in the first two, but for the easily scared, it will do its job pretty efficiently.
One thing that makes this movie stand apart from the ones before it, which I also really like and appreciate that they did, was have tons of character development for our protagonist. We have seen this character in all four movies now, but they never really classified who she is or what she stands for. However, in this film, they show her childhood and the adolescent trauma she went through, showing both her physical and mental scars. Many horror movies never really do that, and decide to spend the majority of the runtime building up the scares and the suspense around the demonic presences. So, not only do I give kudos to the filmmakers for taking that chance, but they did it in such a way that it works for the movie.
However, some of the acting performances and some of the plot points, especially when getting to the latter half of the film, just fall short. That usually seems like the problem for these movies; they are able to set up the horror and suspense pretty well, but it usually never pays off in the end. This is sort of the case for this film, but rather the fact that the ending was just very lackluster and a let down. I was expecting this huge fight, but it seems like the filmmakers don't want to give the viewers that satisfaction in any of their films.
Overall, if this is the final film of the entire franchise, I think it was a pretty good send-off for all of the characters and the plot lines they have set up over the past few years. If they do make a fifth entry in this franchise, there are many different ways they could take this, but let's just hope they learn from their mistakes and deliver a badass, terrifying horror movie next time around. It's unlikely, but the best we can do is hope.