Insidious: The Last Key - REVIEW

By Kris Tashjian


          As moviegoers know, January isn't the best month for award-winning film releases, known as the entertainment industry's "dump month". Not to worry for horror fans, as we never aim too high, just for decent scares and a good story. 

The Insidious series began under the direction of James Wan, best known for Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7, Lights Out, Annabelle and Saw, among others. It's thanks to him and his style that these movies got their flavor and cult following, but it should be noted that the third installment was directed by Leigh Whannell and the fourth by Adam Robitel. The series is wholly produced by Jason Blum and written by Leigh Whannell, with assistance of James Wan  (wrote 2, produced 3 & 4).

Just as importantly, the film is led by a very uncommon category of lead actor: 74-year-old Lin Shaye, now a well-recognized face on the horror scene thanks to Insidious, as Elise Rainier. Her character remains the main driving force of the movie, as she fights demons of her own, as well as for those who cannot. In this fourth installment, we get the origin story of her "powers".

So, when considering what month it was released, viewers already know not to be too harsh, yet still judge the movie on entertainment value and overall content, such as story, cinematography, casting, and use of scare tactics, because of its horror genre label. This will be a spoiler-free review, no details will be discussed. 

     Lin Shaye returns as master demonologist Elise Rainier, and we finally get a glimpse into her past, dating back to her childhood and relationship with parents and sibling. The scare tactics remain the same as all previous installments, and still don't abuse viewers with unwarranted jump scares, neglecting opportunities to cheap shot the viewer with loud sounds to break the silence unfairly, angering veteran horror fans who expect more. 

The movie sets up about the same way, the story revolving more around Elise, rather than the usual child being haunted/stuck in the "astral plane", a limitless area one experiences during dreams. She is again requested for her services to rid a house of a demon, one she knows personally this time. This movie is on par with former installments, but doesn't surpass them in any way, besides answering some questions about the main protagonist's past and reasons for her being so adept at dealing with demons.

     The cinematography and pacing of the story are in line with past entries, but the best thing to say is that it serves it's fan base with a familiar dish; it has its kicks and flavor, but is completely identical to past ones. The series remains good, but has nothing new, suggesting that Insidious is beginning to overstay its welcome, similarly to Saw, Scream, Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Paranormal Activity.

It's a movie geared towards horror moviegoers, and probably won't be converting any new fans to the series, as it only delves deeper into the prior story, adding much needed background specifically for fans of the series. 

This installment lacked originality and surprise, but I still recommend viewing this movie, especially for fans of the series and horror fans who have never tried the series.

Grade: D+