Insidious: The Last Key Only Proves January is an Awful Month for Movies
The Insidious franchise is back with what one can only hope is the final chapter. However, after watching Insidious: The Last Key the only chills to be found was the unsettling notion that the series was setting itself up to replace star Lin Shaye with younger, sexier psychics in the near future.
Honestly, I’ve found the Insidious franchise to be a bit of a roller coaster over the years. Stumbling from good entry to bad entry. The Last Key though not only scrapes the bottom of the barrel but comes dangerously close to breaking straight through the bottom of it. By now, most of what we get from the movies are things that we’ve all seen before, a sign that those who have taken over since James Wan are seriously lacking the dark creativity he’s brilliantly displayed over the years.
Insidious: The Last Key is set as yet another prequel before the original Lambert Haunting (from the first two “Chapters”), which automatically lowers the risk for the three characters we’ve seen from the other films. That’s the problem with prequels in the horror genre though, keeping the same characters means you know none of them are going to die. Then again, the Insidious films have never really been about body count. Instead, they’re better known for moderately creepy monsters and jump scares. Unfortunately, the demon this time around is nothing more than a resounding “meh.”
For some reason director, Adam Robitel and writer Leigh Whannel created a monster that seems to draw inspiration from Freddy Krueger and those who suffer from cleft palates. The result is one that is terrifying when it jumps out and shouts “boo”, but the terror quickly fades once you get a good look at it. Though this comes as little surprise given that most of the demons from the series have never been that scary to begin with. Still, it certainly feels as though they were much more menacing, and had much more screen time.
Despite the fact that Insidious: The Last Key, tries harder than ever to branch out from the cornerstone story of the franchise by returning to the past of protagonist Elise Rainier, there’s little inspiration to be found even though this time it’s “personal.” To be honest, the plot is so muddled, it’s hard to tell exactly what the repercussions of this story are. Part of it implies that she is the one responsible for evil entering our world, but the timeline of the films just doesn’t add up. Normally logic isn’t something necessary for horror movies, but the plot holes in The Last Key are just too big to be ignored.
As always, Lin Shaye is a driving force behind this film. Her screen presence proves to be the thread that ties the movie together, and to be honest, her acting is a welcomed relief from the muddled down story. Her character returns to her childhood home to confront both literal and metaphorical demons from her past. The most unfortunate part of her return though is the reunion with her family, which consists of two oddly young nieces who share her gift. Normally, this would seem like a nice little bit of backstory, but there’s this annoying thought in the back of my mind that this won’t be the last time we see those nieces… In a supporting role.
By now, it’s clear that the Insidious franchise is a dog looking for a porch to crawl under to die. Blumhouse just won’t let it though. Instead of sending it upstate to play on a farm with other played out horror series, it keeps trying to get one last good hunt out of it. While I applaud Insidious: The Last Key for being a horror film that doesn’t rely on blood and gore to scare audiences, to be honest, it doesn’t really rely on anything anymore to scare us. Let’s try to leave some dignity in the old girl and hope that The Last Key is, in fact, the last chapter.