Insidious: The Last Key
UK Release: 12/01/2018
Directed by: Adam Robitel
Starring: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
That’s right folks – it’s another Insidious film.
But does Insidious: The Last Key manage to get back to the saga’s root?
Insidious: The Last Key is yet-another prequel to the popular 2011 supernatural horror… and it once again stars Lin Shaye as the psychic paranormal investigator, Elise Rainier. This time, we’re heading back into Elise’s past, with an entire film dedicated to the effect her power had on her childhood. And while it sounds like an intriguing setup, it doesn’t exactly deliver.
Not by a long shot.
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Insidious: The Last Key has an interesting premise, delving into its character’s past.
In fact, the film opens with some disturbing scenes from Elise’s childhood… and it explains a lot about her psychic powers and how her family responded to them. Obviously, it’s not long before things turn ugly. Elise’s father is an executioner (obviously) in a local prison – he’s the man responsible for taking death row inmates to the electric chair. And when Elise claims she can see the ghosts of the prisoners he’s killed, it doesn’t exactly go down well.
I have to admit, I liked the family dynamic here.
It gives us some interesting backstory to arguably the most interesting character in the Insidious saga… and it’s interesting to see how her family react to her ‘gift’. But even then, Insidious: The Last Key manages to make a hash of it. The characters motivations just don’t make an awful lot of sense, and it feels as though the filmmakers are trying to make a story more interesting merely by throwing ‘spooky’ elements at it – her father being an executioner, for example.
That’s the biggest problem throughout – Insidious: The Last Key tries too hard.
And it often comes off as simply laughable.
Throughout the screening I sat in, audience members were doubled over at the thinly-veiled characterisations, and the film’s attempts to be scary. And even those attempts were few and far between. There were only a handful of ‘scares’ throughout the entire film, and even those were often met with laughter and eye-rolls. I even heard a few exasperated sighs behind me, as the audience struggled with the film’s often tenuous leaps.
Of course, Lin Shaye is once again fantastic as Elise Rainier.
But, yet again, Insidious: The Last Key is just another vehicle to get the long-dead character back on the screen. Yes, she was good. But do we really need to keep pumping out Insidious prequels just to get her back on the big screen?
Everyone else puts in a good effort, but with clunky dialogue and laughable explanations for the spooky goings on, their performances often come across as stunted and a bit wooden. It’s difficult to see Insidious: The Last Key as anything other than a hackneyed attempt to cash in on the franchise’s early success.
And as the film goes on, it just keeps getting worse.
Clearly, the creature designers thought their new demon was a real thriller.
But when you see it up there on the big screen, skulking about with its keys-for-fingers, it’s just not as scary as it should be. There’s a creepy moment in the trailers, which sees the new demon pushing a key into its victim’s throat and essentially locking away their voice. It’s a neat visual, and it could have been almost impressive… if it was actually scary at all. I don’t know why, but for some reason that moment falls completely flat. And with long-winded bits about a ‘prison realm’ and an entity which locks away the souls of its victims, it feels more like a cheesy episode of The Outer Limits than a real horror movie.
And that’s a real shame.
Essentially, Insidious: The Last Key falls flat in almost every area. The plot is garbage, and with very little going on on-screen, it only just manages to tick along. The acting is mostly sub-par, save for Lin Shaye, but even she can’t save the movie from itself. Perhaps the film’s biggest crime is that it clearly thinks it’s far more interesting than it is. A huge amount of time is spent setting up an arduous plot which leaves you wondering why you’re supposed to give a damn about these people.
Oh, and watch out for an ‘emotional’ moment near the end of the film.
It’s so misjudged that it was met with spontaneous bursts of laughter from the audience around me. Coupled with sound effects which sound like they were taken from a vintage episode of Scooby Doo, I can’t help wondering what the filmmakers were thinking.
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Insidious: The Last Key shows some potential… but it’s just not a good movie. It’s often laughably misjudged with ‘scary’ scenes that fall completely flat. And the storyline fails to pique the interest of anyone but the most die-hard Insidious fans.
Now, perhaps it’s time Insidious shuffled off its mortal coil.
Insidious: The Last Key stars Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, and Angus Sampson.
Adam Robitel directed the movie, based on a script by Leigh Whannell.
Insidious: The Last Key opened in cinemas on 12 January 2018.