REVIEW BY WAYNE REED III
The film’s plot: Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet – in her own family home.
I’m a huge fan of the first Insidious. It was a delightfully crazy and memorable horror movie every time I watched it. The tone and color James Wan uses in the film were great and the performances were always very good.
That being said, the sequel and prequel that follow Insidious weren’t that bad. I really liked Chapter 2 and I thought Chapter 3 was alright. Nothing like this piece of garbage.
Take all the good pieces of Insidious and just make them absolutely terrible and you have The Last Key. All the signs pointed to this film being awful, but holy hell, I would have at least expected The Last Key to try and rip off some of the good moments from the first film. Instead, Adam Robitel seems anonymous in the director’s chair as the film feels like a throwaway Blumhouse release made to make a quick positive profit at the box office.
Even though the first Insidious suffered from its fair share of problems, it always felt unique and special. There is nothing special about The Last Key, as all of its elements are trite and generic.
Speaking of generic, the score and cinematography are the main offenders in The Last Key. With the first movie, the score was screeching and jolted any unexpected viewer awake, leaving them terrified. The score here just goes through the motions, picking an incredible amount of stock music to coincide with the film. The cinematography doesn’t fare much better, as the whole film looks fairly standard and the color palette is garbage.
Other than a blue tinted fog and a red friggin’ door that appears maybe once, there’s no style that belongs to The Last Key, and nothing that made Insidious so delightfully batshit.
Lin Shaye was very good in the first film, so no surprise, she’s still the main highlight of the series. She is always terrific and brings a specific heartbeat to this franchise that is always enticing to watch. Her character is well developed, and not only that, her backstory is actually intriguing. But it’s all bogged down with a messy narrative, weak writing and some OK-to-bad performances.
To her credit, she’s much better than her two henchmen, Angus Simpson and Leigh Whannell, playing two poor excuses for comedy relief. Anything that comes out of their mouths is cringeworthy and feels like it takes an eternity to get through, including weird, creepy, and pointless romantic subplots that shoehorn their way in at the oddest of times.
I’m still baffled by the story too. I cannot even comment on this one, as I have no idea what went on in the film. Whannell, James Wan’s right hand man, knows more than enough about the Insidious franchise (writing each entry and having small supporting roles in them too), however this feels extremely incompetent. The story never makes sense and characters disappear without any reason. I still have no idea what the main antagonist was after or why it was after anything.
My next to last real pro would be that the main creature looks cool. It’s a nice practical effect that would usually feature Doug Jones in the role, so it was nice to see some hard work go into at least one department.
All-in-all, despite a few things I liked, including Lin Shaye’s awesome performance, Insidious: The Last Key ends up not only soiling the names of all that are associated with the film (again except for maybe the makeup department), but also ends up soiling the first Insidious (and I’m sure the sequel and prequel as well). The first one is still a great horror flick, but The Last Key tries its hardest to try and make the first one seem so bad.
We’re starting 2018 off with a bang, like always.