Director Adam Robitel
Genre Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Cast Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo
Release Date January 5th, 2018
From director Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan), Insidious: The Last Key is the origin story for recurring character Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), and is set years prior to the previous films. The Insidious franchise has been very up and down in terms of critic and viewer feedback, and while the 3rd film wasn't great by any stretch, it was still creepy and a solid horror film overall, at least in my opinion anyway. I'm not sure how much life is left in this franchise, but I am pleased that they are continuing to try and keep the horror genre going. The cast includes Lin Shaye, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Tessa Ferrer, Javier Botet, and Josh Stewart.
Insidious: The Last Key suffers from the usual inability to actually frighten viewers, but a cast that keeps things fun and a solid origin story make for an overall enjoyable experience. Full disclosure, I went to see this movie a 2nd time after feeling relatively unfulfilled the first time around. I'm not sure if that was due to high expectations or simply the fact that I was so focused on the backstory that I didn't appreciate some of the finer horror elements of the film, or possibly a combination of the two. Either way I enjoyed the film much more the second time around and really felt like it was a solid entry in the franchise, and if it is in fact the final film, a pretty good sendoff. Insidious: The Last Key really gets its bearing with what I consider to be a well-constructed origin story, taking us back to Elise's younger and extremely traumatic years. As far as horror films go, this was one of the better told stories and I really liked how the supernatural collided with real-life evil. I also really liked how they utilized "the key," without giving anything away- it was a pretty cool addition. Before I get ahead of myself let me make one thing very clear, this movie is far from perfect and quite honestly you really can't even put it in the same category as The Conjuring, Sinister, or It Follows, some of the better scare-factor horror films in the last few years. What Insidious: The Last Key is able to provide viewers is what should be considered a bigger budget B-movie horror that does enough to please newcomers, but more importantly it gives fans of the franchise the fix they were hoping for when they bought a ticket.
I suppose it should come as no surprise that the acting is one of the weaker aspects of a horror movie. What did take me by surprise is the fact that one of the weaker performances came from franchise staple and veteran actress Lin Shaye. Shaye, who has 200 acting credits according to her IMDb filmography, has been around the block to say the least. In general, I enjoy her as an actress when it comes down to a solid role in a horror movie that really isn't asking too much of her, which is essentially her trademark. Now, what annoyed me most for Insidious: The Last Key specifically is the fact that it seemed Shay was trying to over emphasize the majority of the key lines that she had and this really took away from her performance. Sure we expect her to puff out her chest and add some effect when she is referring to "the great beyond" for example, but doing that during the majority of the film felt corny and overdone. I hate to bash Shaye who has been a damn good franchise lead, and honestly this may fall on the shoulders of the director, but it took away from the overall experience for me. Aside from that, Shaye was her usual entertaining self.
Caitlin Gerard and Spencer Locke, relatively forgettable actresses who have dabbled in a few B-movie horror films and television shows, are okay if you keep your expectations low. On the flipside of that, they are both very attractive which as we horror fans know is a key element to any successful horror film, so you can at least check that box. Franchise regulars Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, in their respective roles as Specs and Tucker have really grown on me. Now it's easy to sit back and say that these two guys are bargain bin actors playing a goofy role to try and keep things loose and fun, and sure that is all very much the truth, but in the Insidious universe it works. I was genuinely pleased to have these two as part of the cast, and the relationship they share with Shaye's character, Elise is one of my favorite parts of the film. An interesting tidbit of information is that Whannell is actually responsible for creating the Insidious franchise and has written the screenplay for every film.
Insidious: The Last Key isn't really a letdown necessarily in the sense that I don't really think viewers had that high of expectations. As a horror fanatic, I really hoped they would dig deep into their bag of tricks and deliver something that gave me chills down my spine, but unfortunately that was not the case (to be fair, I am NOT easy to scare). One thing the Insidious franchise is famous for is the ability to create a high quality "monster," or ghost, or demon, or whatever it may be for that specific film. Few things are more obnoxious than a horror movie with a corny looking monster and Insidious has always delivered on that front. On a side and completely unrelated note, as a horror fan I am still very angry and disappointed in Paramount for releasing that piece of crap movie Rings which lost the studio so much money that they cancelled the next Friday the 13th. Damn you Paramount! Overall I think fans of the Insidious franchise will be pleased with this latest entry and if the box office numbers hold up, we may be seeing a 5th entry in the franchise, because well cash is king, and that in itself would be impressive. Lin Shaye was actually quoted in an interview saying that regardless of whether or not another Insidious film is greenlit by the studio, she will follow writer Leigh Whannell wherever he goes.