Insidious: The Last Key
12th January 2018 (UK)
Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet - in her own family home.
Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson
Now in its fourth instalment, the Insidious franchise takes a step backward in more ways than one with The Last Key.
Set before the events of the first Insidious but after Insidious 3, The Last Key delves into the past of demonologist Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye) as she returns to her childhood home where evil dwells. With the help of her fellow demonologists Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Simpson) she must confront the malevolent presence which has haunted her for decades and use her gift to remove it from this world once and for all.
No one was ever under the impression that entry number 4 in a horror series was ever going to be good, but usually, at this point, there’s some creativity in kills or scares even if the story is lacking any real substance. Insidious: The Last Key is devoid of any original ideas, opting to fall back on the tired and tested genre tropes of old in a largely bloodless and tension-free 100 or so minutes. The plot doesn’t fare much better either and gives one of the most interesting leads in recent horror memory a disappointing backstory which been seen countless times and, unforgivably, has been conveyed far more interestingly.
Having played the character three times prior, Lin Shaye also goes through the motions as Elise but cranks up the martyred narcissism (“This is happening to ME”; “It’s MY burden to bear” “I was the one chosen for this”, and so on) while Leigh Whannell, who also wrote the script, and Angus Simpson follow her around attempting (and failing) to crack gags as the Spectral Sightings duo. Kirk Acevedo is the acting highlight as the new owner of Elise’s spooky mansion, but his personal storyline ends up being ridiculously implausible too. The KeyFace creature, played by the fantastically agile and inhumanly framed Javier Botet, has potential but it never amounts to anything more than slightly creepy imagery.
There’s the odd jolt littered throughout The Last Key but they never feel earned – its scares consist of interrupting a relatively normal conversation or interaction with a gaunt or heavily painted demonic face and a shrill rise in music. It certainly feels more like a pilot for a TV episode that focuses on the Spectral Sightings group than a fully fleshed out feature film and if that was the case then some of these shortcomings could be easily overlooked.
As it stands though, Insidious: The Last Key is a complacent and rusted finale to a franchise which, in hindsight, probably only has one worthwhile entry anyway. The lofty expectations set by the original kept a glimmer of hope in the lantern for its subsequent chapters, but The Last Key’s inability to unlock the potential of its Further setting ultimately means I don’t have enough reason to care if the Red Door was to ever open again.