Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
Picking up right after the events of "Insidious: Chapter 3", this fourth entry further (pun intended) explores the backstory of demonologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), who was murdered in a memorable twist at the end of the first film. Here, Elise is first introduced as a young girl living in a foreboding two-storey house on the outskirts of a New Mexico prison in 1952 where her stern father (Josh Stewart) works as a prison guard. Turns out that Elise already had a gift (or curse, depending on which way you look at it) for seeing ghosts then, but when she disobeys her father's order to deny her paranormal abilities, he locks her in the basement. It is there she first encounters this movie's demon - a tall lanky beast with old-timey keys for fingers - and unknowingly unlocks a mysterious red door for the monster to cross over into our world.
Back in the present day, Elise receives a phone call from a stranger who asks for her help with the ghosts in his house. That house turns out to be her childhood home, and despite her initial reservations at literally revisiting past demons, she eventually musters up the courage to confront what she recognises she had previously unleashed. It helps that she isn't alone; thanks to the events in the last movie, she is now accompanied by a pair of dopey sidekicks Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell). To be sure, their signature high-tech gizmos aren't of much use (certainly much less than they were in the first two movies), so their presence is really as comic relief - like Tucker loves to repeat, "She's psychic; we're sidekick."
What distinguished "Insidious" from other haunted-house movies was its creation of 'The Further', a terrifying place between life and death that exists on a different realm from ours where evil spirits trapped not just the souls of the dead but also those who were able to project themselves astrally while asleep. Elise was established to be one such individual, and it isn't reasonable that she would quickly return to 'The Further' in order to seek out the entity which had terrorised her and is terrorising the house's current inhabitant as well as the spirits she sees around the property. But Whannell, who had written every one of the "Insidious" movies, has other intentions; in fact, the middle act sees Elise come face-to-face with a different real-life horror, which while well-intentioned, is not nearly as developed as it needs to be and is hardly as interesting as the ghouls of 'The Further'. Only in the final act does Elise finally return to that purgatory, but that homecoming is over too fast, too soon and too conveniently, almost as if it were simply an afterthought to form a narrative bridge into the first movie.
Even though the earlier 'Insidious' films had similarly spare scripts, they benefited from the taut direction of James Wan, who knew how to build perfectly good scares with icy dread. Unfortunately, series newcomer Adam Robitel doesn't quite have the same knack. Not only is he able to generate the same atmosphere as Wan did, Robitel often betrays his own lack of confidence by resorting to the sort of jump-cuts which quickly tire out. This being his sophomore feature, he also lacks the experience to properly smooth over the rough edges of Whannell's writing - in particular, the parts intended to be poignant, such as Elise's estrangement from her skittish younger brother Christian (Bruce Davison), come off feeling contrived and sit awkwardly with the rest of the parts designed to frighten.
Ultimately, it is Shaye who holds the rickety film together, portraying Elise with just the right balance of vulnerability and fearlessness. While it may seem opportunistic that the "Insidious" series goes down the same road as "The Conjuring" (by using the same parapsychologist(s) across its entries), Shaye very much holds her own as the film's septuagenarian heroine. That said, it is not quite nearly enough to reinvigorate the franchise itself, which seems imprisoned in its own creative limits and cannot quite go any further (that's another pun, fully intended). Perhaps its title is ominous of its fate, and even if 'The Last Key' isn't the last we hear of "Insidious", then the next chapter better have a much more compelling raison d'être.
Brought to you by the same creative minds behind "Insidious" trilogy, this fourth installment, Insidious: The Last Key takes you back to the beginning, to the family history of renowned parapsychologist, Dr. Elise Rainer and how the haunting in her own family home has returned with a vengeance. It is up to Elise and her spectral sighting team to defeat this demon once and for all.
Even though Insidious: The Last Key is directed by somebody new to the franchise, Adam Robitel, much of the style follows suit with its predecessors, so in a way, this movie is very formulaic, the objective is the same which is to present to you a big bad villain in a form of a demon at the end of the story and that's not really a spoiler because the other movies did the same thing. Because this is a prequel, it takes its time in setting the whole thing up in terms of Elise's family and the abuse she and her brother endured when they were kids. This part, these flashbacks are just as creepy, if not creepier than what's happening in the present day with Elise trying to communicate with spirits in the dark.
By the way, actress Lin Shaye has been in this business and specifically has been part of this genre forever, so as a fan, it really is cool to see a movie like this that allows her to showcase her all, that gives her room and space to do what she does best, in a way, they might as well have titled this movie, Insidious The Lin Shaye lifetime achievement award.
I actually enjoyed how the film presents Elise's background, the whole theme of it kinda resonates with any kid who grows up feeling different and the parents try to beat it out of you instead of helping you embrace your specialty and uniqueness. So that approach does help in making you empathize with Elise which is an effective strategy in any horror film because the jump scares can only do so much, what's truly scary is when you feel scared for the safety of the characters whose journey you've been following, and that's what Insidious: The Last Key offers. I'm also mildly amused by the comic relief of Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson who play Elise's sidekicks, granted some of the humor does feel a bit dumb but they mean well, so it's one of those that just make you shake your head and dismiss them as immature children. Insidious The Last Key is scary enough, it's entertaining enough for the fans, it's a popcorn horror thriller you'd want to take your girlfriend to see just so that she can curl up next to you when she feels squeamish, this really is a movie just for the fans of the franchise, and despite some of its few ridiculous scenes, I think overall they're going to be grateful that this installment exists.
-- Rama's Screen --
Bad: Some of the worst writing I have seen from the convoluted story with confusing plot points to the unfunny humor. The movie tries to pull twists and turns, but most of them do not make sense logically and end up being confusing. For 103 minutes, the movie tends to drag due to a lack coherence and ineffective scares.
Overall: Shaye cannot hold up the messy and sloppy writing. As a fan of the Insidious series, I felt this to be an outlier and desperately fail at being an adequate entry into the series.
Horror/Mystery/Thriller: 7.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
Characters Story Creep Factor
Dislikes: Dropped plot points Anticlimactic Ending Missing Trailer scenes
Summary: A fourth installment usually means a low-quality movie that is strictly for merchandising and money making. However, Insidious 4, while not the best of the series, keeps the tradition of horror storytelling alive by focusing on plot and character development rather than just plain old scares that the genre is famous for. Elise's backstory is fascinating, and helps connect some elements that were once shrouded in the mists of the unknown, and is presented nicely as past is integrated with present. In addition, while not the scariest, the group does a fantastic job utilizing shadows, make-up, and sound editing to establish a creep factor that will keep you on edge. All of this come together to make a nice mystery/horror that is worthy of the series. Yet, the fourth installment still has its flaws primarily in the scare tactics, (e.g. jump scare tactics) have gotten old despite their attempts to tune it up. In addition, the plot had some dropped and rushed elements, alongside an anticlimactic wrap up, that took away from the story overall. In addition, there are a lot of scenes from the trailers missing, some of which really could have added on to the story, or allowed for more creepy makeup to be used. Overall, this movie is a solid entry in the series and answers some of those lingering questions we have had since the whole prequel component was started. Yet, it does establish new questions and drops on the finish that could have really made the story exponentially better. And while the scare tactics are getting somewhat stale, Insidious is at least managing to keep things creepy and relevant to a point instead of just a super scare fest that this genre is famous for. It's worth a trip to the theater for the franchise fans, however, you can wait this out for the home cinema to save yourselves money.
Want more details? Please visit:
A better metaphor for this film would be to say:
They were cramming too much slop into this movie. And, just when you thought they were actually going to pull it off and seal the lid with a satisfactory ending...they slipped and all the sloppy corny cheese spilled everywhere. A vomit-worthy finish to the series!
A shame too, because with another rewrite there was definitely some good elements in here.
When it wraps up, you won't even know how to feel about certain characters in this movie. Villain or victim? Who knows? Who cares.... this franchise has lost me at this point. As much as I like Elise...I don't like all the cheese!
First of all, people in this movie seem to have the intelligence of a six year old. Why would Christian bring her two daughters to the haunted house after seeing a picture of the whistle? Elise gave the daughter the picture, the reasonable thing to do would be to contact Elise to ask for the picture and not go back to that house! Stupid, unreasonable things like this happen throughout the movie.
Secondly, the scares are cheap. The scare tactics have been used a million times before. Everytime the movie tries to be scary I just couldn't help rolling my eyes.
Thirdly, the ending was very anticlimactic. How do you think the ultimate monster died? The mom showed up and with one swift strike, destroys the monster. If the mom could kill the monster so easily, where were she in the preceding 50-odd years????
Last but not least, the casting was bad. Christian, Elise's younger brother, looked 10-20 years older than Elise.
I would have left the theater in the middle had I not come with a friend.
So with Insidious 4, I saw the trailer was happy the were making a new one, but the trailer in my opinion was the worst, it looked so bad and ridiculous ....... an evil with keys on his fingers ..... ohhh wow super scary, no the idea looked dumb. So my first look at the movie was bad, I was not hyped for it to hit theaters.
I was wrong, the movie is done in a twisted way a brillant way that makes connection with the first Insidious in a really great way. The movie is far from being the scariest, but he may be the one with the best characters and the most tragic one. The acting from the whole cast is good, and as always Shaye still is the best part just like all Insidious movies, her performances is always fresh, new and amazing, plus the characters Elise is one of the strongest horror characters I have seen on the big screen. The villans in this one such as the demon himself is not scary and is not the best, but Elise *Spoiler* is one of the most well made adition in the franchise it's orignial and makes the whole franchise more real and good.
There are some great scares but if you really want to get scared this one is not the best one, it had some memorable scares, but overall it was more of a psychological horror movie with troubled people that are someway possesed.
That said I don't want to spoil anything so let's just say that it's great if you see this movie has an horror movie not a movie that would win an award or anything it's fun to watch with friends or alone and is a great movie for Insidious fans. Ohhh and lots of great scenes from the trailer are cut .... so don't try to look for them.
Thanks for reading my review and enjoy Insidious: The Last Key
SINCE STARTING IN 2010 the Insidious franchise only had one initial idea from director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell: it started life as a creepy haunted house movie. And you can probably bet that with all the demons, the different characters and the initial storyline that gets pumped out it always ends in the house in which it spawned. Four movies in and the series doesn't seem to have lost that initial scope, that, we can say is a promising aspect for the wearying supernatural storyline of Insidious: The Last Key it ends at a house. However what happens in the meantime tends to lose pretty much everything else.
The film kicks off with a reasonably well-executed prologue instead of opening with the victim of the haunting here the focus changes hands to the childhood of Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), delving deeper into her personal life and inevitably exploring her darkest fears. The 1950s atmosphere is handled with care, the eerie tone that comes with it is polished and the performances are charming. Then the film shifts to the era of the first instalment, and again she returns with her idiotic psychics to investigate her family home and face off against her most dangerous demon. However that sudden shift it seems everything has pretty much been rubbed off as the clean rug has been pulled from us unveiling a Smorgasbord of constant clichés, tired scares and a rubbery demon which from first glance looks to have lost all inspiration.
Like Insidious: Chapter 3 this is a prequel story (now it's 3, 4, 1 and 2 should you ever feel the need to screen these films in chronologically). But this one is Elise's personal story it delves deeper into her life, and director Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan) solidly brings her story to life. The look of fear as she faces her most dangerous demon, the close relationship she has with her duo of psychics (Whannell and Angus Sampson) and the intercutting flashbacks of her early years with her abusive father (Josh Stewart). It's certainly a well-done premise now we're four films in and it's made better with Shaye's always welcome presence. Yet despite the title the film fails to unlock all the ideas at hand and with fewer scares than ever it seems that all the inspiration has been entirely rubbed off, initially losing its spark. Granted Insidious: The Last Key is certainly murky stuff losing its potential over the previous instalments but you have to credit the ambitious casting at putting 74-year-old Shaye at the top. Plus the addition of the emotional plot writes some creative grandeur, yet due to uninspired ideas and tired scares it seems that the ideas have hit their tipping point. VERDICT Shaye's always welcome presence gives her all but after uninspired ideas, a routine storyline, retired scares and lacking inspiration it's clear that the fourth chapter has lost all hope.