Film Review: Insidious: The Last Key

XO Rating

7 Plot
5 Acting
5 Cinematography
6 Experience

Director: Adam Robitel

Writer: Leigh Wannell

Cast: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson

Dr. Elise Rainier has devoted her life to helping others overcome their fears. Her courage is tested when a frantic stranger calls in need of her help. The stranger is the new occupant of her childhood home and is in desperate need of her expertise in vanquishing the demons she left behind. Battling her most personal case yet, Elise finds herself faced with an entity she released decades ago.

The Insidious saga comes full circle in this latest installment. This fourth movie gives us the origin story of Dr. Elise Rainier, following her on the case she worked just before taking on the Lambert haunting.   Fans of the franchise will remember the good doctor as the psychic who came to Lambert’s rescue in the first film and consequently dies at the hands of a possessed Mr. Lambert. The first two films showed the demise of the doctor and her new role as champion of the “further”.  The third film gave us some insight into how she started her business and met her sidekicks. This fourth movie goes back even further, delving into her childhood and the early manifestations of her ability. The glimpse backward is woven into a special case that forces Elise to revisit her haunted past thus allowing her a shot at redemption. Apparently, young Elise released an evil onto the world that only old Elise can vanquish. Elise is accompanied by her goofball sidekicks Specs and Tucker, who provide some comic relief.

Most horror aficionados know that the fourth in a franchise is either ridiculous, hilarious or totally predictable. The Last Key is no exception. The premise is good but the execution leaves much to be desired.  While there are some gasp-worthy moments and creepy instances there is also a cheesy predictability and a plethora of unanswered questions. Like what happened to Elise’s mother? The film shows us her untimely death but glosses over the aftermath. Young Elise eventually runs away from her abusive father, but to where? Where did she go for fifty years? As an origin story, it really leaves a lot to assumption and speculation. There is also a bit of time travel. In one of Elise’s trips into the further, she is seen by a terrified Dalton when he falls off the ladder a memorable moment from the very first movie.

Though there are some remnants of the first films, The Last Key falls short of its predecessors with fewer scares and more normal than paranormal occurrences. In a perfect world, this would have been a cable TV movie, leading to a series that follows Specs and Tucker’s “Spectral Sightings” on their missions with a ghostly Elise running interference in the “further”. Can you imagine a dearly departed Elise kicking all kinds of ass in the afterlife? We would absolutely watch that. It could be the Supernatural meets Ghost Whisperer meets Psych, Sci-Fi horror comedy of our dreams. If you haven’t already seen the other films we recommend watching them first and then waiting for this one to find its way to a streaming platform.

Insidious: The Last Key hits theaters this Friday, January 5th.