Insidious: The Last Key (2018) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Insidious: The Last Key (2018) Review

Horrorific content by Ciarán Coleman on October 05th, 2021 | Movie Review | Possession, Supernatural, Demon, Haunted House

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It’s about demonologist Elise Rainer’s further struggle with the spirit world, this time in her childhood home where it all began. It’s the fourth film in the ‘Insidious’ franchise and a prequel to ‘Insidious’.

The fourth instalment in the ‘Insidious’ franchise is lukewarm and doesn’t house the same charm as some of the previous films in the franchise but it’s definitely not a completely unenjoyable film. It’s just not that good. Lin Shaye is back in full form but the same can’t be said for Leigh Whannel and new director Adam Robitel. The familiarity found from film to film stopped being a comfort at the end of ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ and has since become something of a chore. The movie seems to want to have a Scooby-Doo vibe, from the ghost hunting van to the comedy between the two sidekicks but also tries to delve into very dark, realistic themes like child abuse, kidnapping and suicide.

Fear comes home.

Insidious: The Last Key Review

The first three ‘Insidious’ films were heavily rooted in horror with a few jokes throughout, whereas this one doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. The child abuse and torture scenes added little more to the plot than shock horror and even then, there’s nothing new as we’ve already seen Whannel go down this route with ‘Saw’. The comedy between the two sidekicks (played by Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) is often trivial and at best staggering an already confused plot.

The loud jumpscares are occasionally effective but they’re more frustrating than engaging at this point. I’m not a massive fan of obnoxious bangs and screams but I appreciate a good spook and this film didn’t really deliver. The clever decisions from ‘Insidious’ (like letting our eyes find the scary silhouette in the baby’s room before the blood curdling music kicks in) are nowhere to be seen and the standards set by the original are not even close to being met. A lot of the scares would have been better served with more slow-burning tension and the solid pacing of ‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ has also been left behind.

But is it all bad?

There are several really cool elements to ‘Insidious: The Last Key’ like the main monster's unique and effectively creepy design or the look into Elise Rainer’s past. Some of the new characters have potential and some of the imagery is pretty unsettling.

Despite a lot of the best parts being watered down by pointless jumpscares and pandering dialogue, they’re still present and elevate the film as a whole. Lin Shaye gives a brilliant performance that adds an emotional maturity to the movie. She really is the glue keeping the franchise together, a well written and captivating character that stands out beside a cast made up of generic personalities and quirks.

All in all, even the surprisingly good qualities to this film can’t save it from being muddy and convoluted, drowning in a sea of too many plot points. The film has no clue what it wants to be and seems insistent on being mediocre, avoiding its own best qualities like the plague. Throw in an unsatisfying ending on top of that and the final product is a mediocre movie, lacking the spark of the original.

Worth Watching?

Meh. Yes if you’re looking for a quick and breezy film that has a good few jumpscares and isn’t too complicated, no if you’re looking for something really engaging and technically proficient. Fans of ‘Insidious’ will more than likely find it lacking in quality and gusto but if you’re looking for something to pass the time, there are far worse horror films out there.

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