Friday, January 5, 2018

Insidious: The Last Key - Review

Perhaps the least enjoyable month as far as films are concerned, January has rolled around again to end the wonderful quality of the last few months. However, the month has been producing a few surprises lately and while certainly not always great films, the overall quality isn’t a completely lost slog of a month. Not to mention the Insidious series is a pretty solid horror franchise and the newest entry, at least from a visual standpoint, looks interesting. Is it possible that January isn’t the dumping ground for bad movies anymore?

Brilliant parapsychologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) receives a disturbing phone call from a man who claims that his house is haunted. Even more disturbing is the address -- 413 Apple Tree Lane in Five Keys, N.M. -- the home where Elise grew up as a child. Accompanied by her two investigative partners (Leigh Whannell & Angus Sampson), Rainier travels to Five Keys to confront and destroy her greatest fear -- the demon that she accidentally set free years earlier.

The fourth chapter in the franchise once again takes place before the events of the first film and becomes even more so about Elise and her story. Introduced with a weirdly long, but well done, opening sequence, Elise’s tragic upbringing is brought to the forefront, setting the scene for the demon to come back for more later. After this opening scene, however, the film runs into some structure problems as it progresses. It starts to drag towards the middle and becomes wholly unoriginal by the end. Which is certainly a shame, as Insidious: The Last Key sets up interesting ideas about real life monsters that it not only doesn’t follow up on, but also kind of cops out on entirely.

In terms of the strong element of Insidious: The Last Key, without question that title belongs to Lin Shaye. The actress has progressively had more and more to do as the films have gone along and it seemingly has become her franchise entirely now. In dealing with Elise’s past, Shaye is able to delve into some heavier subjects and essentially carries the film performance wise. Unfortunately, her sidekicks bring the film down so much in winds almost balancing out. The two men, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, are so grating and physically nauseating at times and none of their comedic relief works, devolving into cringe territory most of the time.

While comedy provided by a certain character is nothing new to horror, it certainly doesn’t help when it is as atrocious as this. Though it does provide a sense of relief when the humor fades and tension can actually play out, provided you’re prepared for some jump scares that is. Admittedly, there are a few effective scenes in Insidious: The Last Key, even if they aren’t unique. Director Adam Robitel does a good job of toying with the audience in a way, particularly in a scene involving a dark pipe and suitcases, and knowing how essential sound is to scares by using the sounds of keys or a whistle quite well.

Overall, Insidious: The Last Key isn’t a great, or even good, horror film by any means but it's strong lead and interesting sensory horror make it an alright film, particularly for January (the dumping ground for bad films). Though it may be the weakest of the Insidious films, it certainly isn’t a terrible entry either and the series continues to be a solid horror franchise.