The key instalment in the Insidious franchise (pun intended). Insidious: The Last Key – movie review

Horror franchises have often shown the fourth instalment as the make-or-break deal. Usually leaning on the ‘break’ side, though.

On one hand, this aspect made me pretty cautious about The Last Key. Plus, although I consider myself quite a fan of the first two Insidious movies, the third one truly displeased me. Finally, the trailer for The Last Key looked absolutely awful to me which, alongside the release date in the worst month of the year for horror flicks, made me cringe quite a bit.

For all these reasons, it’s fair to say I went into Insidious: The Last Key not just with low anticipation, but indeed expecting to watch one of the worst horror movies of 2018…

Gladly, I was wrong.

This movie works as a prequel to the events of the first two films, as we follow Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) investigating on yet another possible case of possession – sort of, since, as you loyal fans of the Insidious franchise surely know, the term ‘possession’ is never used in these flicks.

Accompanied by Tucker and Dale (ehm, Specs and Tucker, pardon me!), Elise finds herself in the house she lived in when she was young. From there on, as you might expect, a battle between the paranormal investigators and creepy entities takes place, all the while Elise is trying to put together the pieces of her childhood.

Insidious Last Key 1This duplicity in plot and action is the most enthralling aspect of The Last Key, since the viewer doesn’t simply follow a straightforward possession story, but they’re also brought to care about the characters. Lin Shaye (who’s now 74 years old!) is great at carrying this movie on her shoulders. In fact, she’s carrying the entire franchise along!

Heavily driven by jump-scares, The Last Key still manages not to cheat on the audience with false scares and loud noises followed by nothing.

Plus, in a couple of paranormal investigation scenes, the movie switches to first person perspective (found-footage style): even though I’m not the biggest fan of found-footage, I thought this little trick gave the movie an extra layer of creepiness and tension, which I highly appreciated.

Remember when I said that Insidious 4 gladly proved me wrong? Well, yes, it’s not an awful movie… but it isn’t good either.

My main complaint is that, with The Last Key, the Insidious movies eventually turned into a franchise. How’s that a bad thing, you might ask.

Insidious Last Key 2Let me explain: despite being quite disappointing, Insidious 3 still managed to be different from its predecessors. On the contrary, The Last Key seems a mashup of the other three movies sewn together with little inspiration. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is watchable and competently directed, but story, characters and scares seem copy-pasted from previous flicks. In other words, to me this movie has been made just to please the viewers and trying to avoid any originality that, perhaps, would have displeased the die-hard fans of these films. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just something that needs to be acknowledged, in my opinion.

Yet, beyond Elise, the other characters are dull and hallow: they’ve got nothing to their personality that could make them stand out. Plus, as much as I loved Specs and Tucker in the first two films, their potential as comic relief has worn off in Insidious 4: they aren’t funny anymore, just annoying.

Everything else in the movie, especially in terms of technical features, is rather formulaic: the camera-work has nothing special to it, the cinematography is quite wishy-washy and the soundtrack is made with the same stock music utilised in most of the Hollywood horror flicks spawned in the last few years. Again, this isn’t a bad thing per se… but it’s not exceptional either.

Overall, I found Insidious: The Last Key mildly entertaining and, for lack of better words, watchable. Nevertheless, the movie is also forgettable and, even as a disposable instalment of a horror franchise, not very impressive.

Insidious: The Last Key                   5/10

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