Insidious: The Last Key – Review

I love the original Insidious; a refreshing blend of jumps, creeps, and laughs came together to make a compelling and unique horror film. The sequels (which stopped being directed by horror icon James Wan after the second) have been struggling to capture the magic the first presented. Insidious: Chapter 3 felt like Leigh Whannell, the writer of all four and director of Chapter 3, was going in the right direction, but alas this installment resolves that he wasn’t. I often am told I only give films good reviews; 1) that’s untrue and here is my The Mummy review to prove so, 2) I still pay to see movies and am not going to go and spend $10 to just reiterate my nearly hardened opinion that Geostorm is going to be a clusterf**k. For all of those who didn’t get their fill of negativity in 2017, here’s some more; save a literal few jumps and thought-provoking concepts Insidious: The Last Key is a lazy attempt at a prequel and sequel that dropped familiar characters and a recognizable title into a mediocre horror flick that from the writing, to the acting, to the directing, didn’t slightly try and act passionate.

Insidious: The Last Key picks up right after Elise Rainer’s adventure in Insidious: Chapter 3. The paranormal team goes to Elise’s old house to investigate a spirit that has been terrorizing a man owning the house. Her friends and family help her fight the demons of the underworld and the demons still among us.

Not entirely sure if it was the clumsy script, awkward performances, or unsuccessful blend of either, but other than the casting of two underrated actors never did any of the lines spoken or actions taken feel faintly authentic. Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, and Angus Sampson reprised their characters from the saga to the demise of all the viewers. Poltergeist is a classic, right? The 4’3” medium played by actress Zelda Rubenstein was a great character, but not once did anyone wish they had her leading a film. Minor characters can be great and steal the show, but leave them to support the protagonist; no, I do not need a Yoda solo film. The only performances to have any genuineness behind them were those executed by Kirk Acevedo (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Josh Stewart (The Collector and The Finest Hours), though their minimal screen time only highlighted the unsatisfactory of the others.

The original 2010 film used it’s “jump scares” to near perfection (Lipstick Demon behind Josh, Kid running out of the armoire), but it’s eeriness and overall sense of trepidation earned it the right to use a somewhat lazy tactic. This film not only used the method during predictable and substandard instances, but the film never lived up to the scariness it tried to imply from the sheer shock.

Doing my best to not spoil there were, just like performances, two twists/concepts that seemed almost too clever to be in such a subpar movie. What I would like to refer to as the “Reverse Sixth Sense” (I want it known that I just coined that term) and the epiphany that demons aren’t only under the world but among it, were plainly the only aspects I plan on remembering. That score down there would certainly be much lower had these not been present.

I wish I had a more sophisticated way to exclaim this, but the story of the film was unabashedly stupid. I did not care about Elise in the third film and absolutely do not care about her backstory now. The film uses keys as a part of its narrative, but there’s never any mention, in the whole damn film, to a “Last Key”. Correspondingly, we’re never given reason for the keys, the spirit, what it can do, why it’s angry, nor why we should care whatsoever. On another note, I guess this a wrongdoing with the film released, but remember the scariest images in the trailer (shown below)? Yeah, not in the film. Shouldn’t that not be allowed? False advertising?

Save a literal few jumps and thought-provoking concepts Insidious: The Last Key is a lazy attempt at a prequel and sequel that dropped familiar characters and a recognizable title into a mediocre horror flick that from the writing, to the acting, to the directing, didn’t slightly try and act passionate.

I see this film maybe having a large opening day and perhaps even weekend, but critics and possibly regular audiences will take part in its failure by spreading the word of its lackluster attempt to conjure thrills. I am hoping for the end of this saga and think that Insidious: The Last Key will be the knife in the heart, or key in the throat, that this franchise needs. I don’t recommend seeing this film, I don’t recommend renting it or any other type of transaction that would account for you to pay your hard earned money, I don’t recommend catching it as it hits your favorite streaming service while you and your friends drink and laugh. This is a bad film, plain and simple.

Cinema 35 Rating: 3/10

 

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Mark A. Silba

Mark is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cinema 35. He currently has his BA in Film and Media studies from Arizona State University. He currently lives in Gilbert, AZ where he spends most of his time seeing the latest theatrical releases.

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