A fourth installment in a horror franchise, yikes! Talk about no faith in what’s to come. Luckily history can avoid the repeat trend and a franchise can continue its solid entries as the Insidious films have continued now through four entries. While I’m not the biggest advocate of the third film I can acknowledge its merits and admit that despite it being the weakest entry (opinion) it still has a place in the world of the Further. What’s missing in the third for me is a personal connection to the characters. With the first and second we were able to connect to a family in the turmoil of a haunting hell. They mattered more whereas the third was a new family with a complete disconnect to a world already established with a different group of characters. With The Last Key it returns to the roots of already established characters and allows not only their present to unfurl but it unveils the horrific past of Elise Rainier and her abusive father and her scary ability to speak to the dead.
Lin Shaye stars as Elise whose ability to speak to and give voice to the dead comes to its culmination when her darkened past comes back to drag her down to the greatest depths of the Further. Her and the Spectral Sightings crew set out to dominate another evil entity that knows her deepest secrets and will use them like a twisted puppet master manipulating her in ways she could have never anticipated. This will prove to be her most daunting encounter with evil since the murder of her mother.
As entertaining as these movies are I think the best thing going for them is the fact that despite four films deep none of them have completely shat the bed, so to speak. While nothing all that special they have all managed a commendable amount of decent, authentic scares, strong story oriented plots, and an understanding that old school horror practices can still feel not only fresh but genuinely frightening. And more than this, perhaps most importantly, the characters are at the forefront of every installment; cared for characters make for earned scares and earned sequels. The weakest aspect to these films is that each practices the same pacing, style of scares and boss battle-like confrontations in the finale of each third act. The tread is well-worn but nonetheless still holds true.
A lesser cousin companion piece to the Conjuring Universe, the world of Insidious although not as strong is still a viable, welcome group of films. Despite 2017 being one of the strongest years for horror in decades, the paint by numbers, watered down, PG-13 “horror” films for teens still manage to seep through, films like Wish Upon and The Bye-Bye Man as examples. Films like the Insidious franchise are not only decent horror flicks but act as a sort of redeemer for the month of January, a month normally reserved for pure garbage cinema. This is a sort of two birds, one stone situation.
At this point you know what you’re getting with Insidious and its subsequent sequels and prequels. With James Wan and Leigh Whannell still providing a guiding hand, the franchise has for the most part maintained its course and provided quality horror entertainment even with the occasional scuff and scrape. Insidious: The Last Key is passable horror fun that knows its audience and delivers exactly what they want with the sporadic moments that differs each film from the others. Bottom line, if you enjoyed the previous entries you will continue to with the franchise’s most intimate, personal installment yet.
Rated PG-13 For: disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language
Runtime: 103 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Bruce Davison
Directed By: Adam Robitel
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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