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Insidious: The Last Key Review - A Horror Series Running On Empty

January 4, 2018

 

 

Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth installment overall in the Insidious franchise, but chronologically takes place between the original Insidious (which was released theatrically in 2011) and 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3. As the film’s subtitle implies, The Last Key nevertheless serves as a conclusion to the story that screenwriter Leigh Whannell and director James Wan first set in motion with their spooky tale of the Lambert family haunting seven years ago.

 

The Last Key picks up in the year 2010, with brilliant but troubled parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier (Shaye) and her sidekicks Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) now firmly established in their “ghost hunting” business following the events of Insidious: Chapter 3. One day, however, trouble comes knocking when Elise receives a call from one Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) asking for her help. Although Elise initially refuses, she thereafter agrees and reveals to Spec and Tucker why the call disturbed her so much in the first place – because Mr. Garza lives in the old house in the small town of Five Keys, New Mexico, where Elise grew up and lived with her family back in the 1950s.

 

                                          (Photo courtesy of: Universal Pictures)

 

One of the problems with movies about ghost hunters is that they’re always stepping into the lives of other people, and they aren’t always personally connected to the monsters that they fight. Insidious: The Last Key tries to solve that little conundrum but actually goes too far in the other direction. Most of the other characters in the film, including the new owner of the house, Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo), are egregiously underdeveloped. They’re either related to Elise, so we’re supposed to care about them, or they’re not, so we don't.

 

                                     (Photo courtesy of: Universal Pictures)

 

It’s hard to feel suspense for people we don’t know much about, and Insidious: The Last Key compounds that lack of suspense by being yet another prequel. So the only characters we’re invested in - Elise, Specs and Tucker - already have their futures set in stone. Anyone who cares enough to see Insidious: The Last Key probably also cared enough to see the other hit films in this series, so their ending is a foregone conclusion. And foregone conclusions are rarely scary.

 

                                     (Photo courtesy of: Universal Pictures)

 

Elise ventures into “the Further” to battle with a decidedly PG-13 demon and put the audience through a drawn-out wringer of gore-free torment and gotcha, jack-in-the-box shocks that may occasionally jolt you out of your seat, but aside from one gag in particular, the scares lack any real mechanical knack. The one thing the otherwise forgettable film has going for it is Shaye, who over the course of the Insidious quadrilogy has miraculously created a real flesh-and-blood character with Elise. But at this late point in the series, that’s just not enough anymore. Let’s hope “The Last Key” isn’t just the film’s title, but also a promise.

 

 

Final Verdict: 1.5 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leanie Gari

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