Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
Arriving with a built-in fanbase, Insidious: The Last Key is going to perk a lot of people's interests.
Admit it. You're addicted to jump scares. You like the sudden adrenaline rush. It's like an amusement ride. I get it. You're not alone.
There is something to be said about Lin Shaye, at 74 years of age, getting a chance to carry a major studio franchise, even if we are talking about Insidious.
This is...what are the words I'm looking for...um...NOT. GOOD.
I don't think this is a scary movie, though there are tense moments to be had. But, does sudden jolts of noise and images count for scary nowadays? Shouldn't we want better by now?
Backs itself into a corner and has nowhere to go, leaving an incomprehensible final 20-25 minutes we just give up on, thus biding our time for all of this to be over.
Did I getcha? No? ☹️
Okay, let me reload a jump-scare or two and focus on the review for a minute.
Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth entry into the nearly decade-old Insidious franchise, which introduced audiences to a spiritual purgatory known as The Further, a paranormal investigator named Elise (Lin Shaye) and all kinds of nasty looking ghouls and demons prowling around in the darkness, as well as lurking in a fair number of closets and behind people’s doors.
Since that 2010 film grossed $97 million worldwide, on a budget of slightly more than $1 million, we have had Chapter 2, a 2013 sequel, and Chapter 3, a 2015 prequel. And now, we are prequel-ing all over again with The Last Key, a movie which places us in a town called Five Keys, in New Mexico, circa 2010.
Following a rather creepy and effective prologue set in 1953, involving a young Elise (Ava Kolker) and her brother, Christian (come on people, really?), The Last Key shifts to a more modern setting. Prior to heading out to New Mexico, we find Elise, now in her early 70’s, continuing to fight and wrestle with evil entities. She leads her clumsy but lovable (just go with me…) sidekicks, Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell), who apparently never encountered a Dad joke they didn’t like.
One morning, a phone call from a stranger named Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) catches Elise’s breath. He needs the trio to come investigate a malevolent force in…
Wait, nothing? Really? You didn’t jump on that one, huh? Alright. Tough crowd.
Traveling to the house where she grew up raises a lot of emotions within Elise. We learn that Garza bought the place some years before. “I sank my whole life savings into this place,” he tells her, a few moments after Elise remarks that the house remains alarmingly intact from when she lived there. You know, from like 57 years before.
Seriously though - the living room chair, table, most of the furniture, wall hangings – all the same. Like no one changed anything? In 57 years. That is kind of creepy, come to think of it.
We see flashbacks periodically to a horrific home life that Elise and Christian experienced with an abusive father (Josh Stewart) who routinely banished Elise to a fallout shelter below the house whenever her tendencies for paranormal communication bubbled to the surface.
Also, both in flashback and present-day 2010, we have apparitions everywhere – creating a playground of sorts for demons of various appearances, sizes, and shapes to make an appearance, including…
OHMIGAWD YOU GUYS – THIS KEYFACE GUY MUST BE LIKE 10-FEET TALL.
HE HAS KEYS FOR FINGERS! KEYS!
You know what. Forget it.
I’m not too proud to say that I don’t get this Keyface character at all, so I can’t get too worked up about him. We have no back story as to how he exists, and he first appears to Elise when she is a kid, asking her to open “all the red doors.” ‘Kay.
Who is he? Why are there keys on his fingers? Why does he dress like a goth singer, in tattered rags, from a failed 70’s punk band?
Let’s just shut this down right here. Insidious: The Last Key is a mess.
Whannell’s script explains nothing and he seems to believe that he has infused enough jump-scare moments for director Adam Robitel to play with and the rest will take care of itself. Shaye is actually the only thing keeping this movie afloat, and her steadying presence makes all the silliness occurring around her somewhat palatable.
There is a rather novel little twist in the middle of the film, which I appreciated, until Whannell fails to do anything clever with it. Then all of it becomes obsolete by an incomprehensible final 20-25 minutes, with so much extraneous “stuff” slapped together that nothing means anything – not in The Further, not with Elise’s connection to all of this, or her two long-lost nieces who pop into the film, family drama, and those Dad jokes.
This is a franchise of dwindling returns, but, for me, I haven’t found much to enjoy here since the first half of the first film. Like most horror films, this film was made on the cheap – and for the eleventh consecutive January, the first weekend of the year finds a horror movie opening wide in theaters everywhere. This movie will probably make a pretty hefty return-on-investment for all involved.
And seeing where The Last Key ends up, perhaps the scariest detail of all, is that the film potentially sets up…
And lean in real close for this one...
CAST & CREW
Starring: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Josh Stewart, Tessa Ferrer, Ava Kolker, Pierce Pope, Bruce Davison, Javier Botet, Hana Hayes, Marcus Henderson.
Director: Adam Robitel
Written by: Leigh Whannell (based on characters created for the film "Insidious")
Release Date: January 5, 2018