UNIVERSAL PICTURES (2018)
Director: Adam Robitel
Starring: Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Spencer Locke, Caitlin Gerard, Bruce Davison
The fourth instalment in the Insidious franchise – a franchise revelling in mediocrity – Insidious: The Last Key delivers another prequel to 2010’s original (following 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3) and once again follows parapsychologist Elise Rainier as she fumbles, gurns and stumbles through another ghoulish incident to prevent The Further, and it’s assorted goons, claiming another victim.
A good, creepy horror movie was what I wanted.
A good, creepy horror movie was not what I got.
In 1953 New Mexico, young Elise Rainier is convinced she can see nightmarish apparitions, and at the same time utterly terrifying her younger brother with her tales. Whilst her mother Audrey (Tessa Ferrer) is sympathetic, her father Gerald (Josh Stewart) is abusive and uncaring towards his estranged daughter. When another haunting occurs, Elise is beaten by Gerald and thrown in the basement for punishment, but she’s not alone. An old demon awaits and possesses her, forcing her to kill Audrey – and ensuring her ticket out of the family house. Years after, Elise (Shaye), now working as a paranormal investigator with idiot sidekicks Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Sampson), is thrust back to the scene of her worst nightmare as a call from a new client leads her back to the old house to fight the evil and end it for good.
Oh, Insidious. The epitome of ‘perseverance against sense’. The first movie was pretty good, but since then, the franchise has delivered a steady stream of averageness. Insidious: The Last Key delivers nothing new to the saga and is comfortably the worst of the bunch. There’s a lot that happens during the 103-minute runtime and you’d be excused for wondering ‘what the hell is going on?’ as cardboard characters are introduced, horrendous ghoulies turn up, a naff abduction subplot threatens to derail it all and throats become the ideal place to put your finger keys. Throw in some eye-rollingly tedious dialogue, hollow gags and clunky editing and you have yourself the last key in the franchise, hopefully.
Also, the demon is called ‘Key Face’. Just let that sink in. Key Face. Just...just go away now.
Saga stalwart Lin Shaye returns once more, and continues to pick up the slack after everyone else decided to move on. Shaye certainly tries hard here but is ultimately possessed by stilted dialogue and an unfocused story. Her efforts kind of lose all steam when you remember that she is later strangled to death by Patrick Wilson. As for the rest, well there’s not much to say. Whannell and Sampson’s attempts at humour are grating and lend themselves to nothing more than just sleazing about whereas Caitlin Gerard is reduced to little more than a heaving chest.
There’s a cluttered story containing flashbacks, abductions, family reunions, astroprojection, stop-start endings, demon hauntings and whistles – all wrapped up with a ridiculous final ‘revelation’ to save the day. By the time this came about, I was exhausted and had lost interest. It just seemed as if the writers had run out of steam and were piecing the movie together as they went along. It’s fair to say the better parts of the movie were when the ridiculous looking baddies were nowhere to be seen – the more ‘atmospheric’ investigative side was far more entertaining than the key faced, key fingered gimp that was revealed to be the big bad.
Packed with cheap jump scares and a convoluted story, the movie (just like the franchise) quickly loses steam and becomes tediously testing. Insidious: The Last Key probably won’t be the final chapter of the saga, but, let’s face it, it really should be.
Key Face? Sod off.
March 15th 2018