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Insidious: The Last Key Movie Review (Spoiler Free)

The fourth entry of this horror-mystery series surprises with tragic events but disappoints with bad comedic moments.

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Genre: Horror / Thriller

Director: Adam Robitel

Cast: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Ava Kolker, Josh Steward, Tessa Ferrer, Pierce Pope, Kirk Acevedo, Hanna Hayes, Thomas Robie, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Bruce Davison & Javier Botet.

Run Time: 103 min.

US Release: 05 January 2018

UK Release: 12 January 2018

German Release: 04 January 2018 The first movie for me to review this new year and it is a horror film. We all know what that usually means… Hollywood is dumping their garbage on us and yet, there is something about the Insidious franchise that did let me hope this might be more than just a quick cash grab with jump scares. I am a fan of the Insidious series; the first one was great, personally, I thought that the second was even better and the third one was okay, which is saying something for a horror franchise. So, I went to see this in theatres, cautious but still expecting more than the average January dump, and I am happy to report that Insidious: The Last Key is as good as the third chapter.

The plot takes place chronologically between the third and first flick and concentrates on the childhood home of the medium Elise Rainier (Shaye). Her family was haunted during her childhood by a demon that returns to torment the new owner (Acevedo) of the house. Elise decides to help the man, with the help of her two partners Specs and Tucker, confronting the ghosts of her past. I’ll begin with the biggest gripe I have with this horror flick, which is the humour. The characters of Specs and Tucker always served as a form of comic relief in this franchise, and while their humoristic interaction and dialogues worked well in the first two movies because it was tertiary to the plot and horror aspects, the comedy started becoming more of a secondary focus in the third chapter. Here it is annoying and really cringe-worthy, as it doesn’t mesh well with the darker and more dramatic horror elements. Still, the narrative is all right for the largest part. What makes the Insidious films so satisfactory, is its formula that always consisted of a family drama surrounded by horror components, and this new instalment follows that receipt to the beat. This is not the typical dumb teenager gory slasher that nearly every horror flick is nowadays, but rather an adult and competently written paranormal story. There might be a little more drama that overweighs the horror element this time around but it is effective nonetheless, even if the beginning does drag a little.

This fourth instalment rests entirely on Lin Shaye’s shoulders, as it is the story of her character and her family's tragic past that left a traumatic mark on Elise. Shaye, who usually played a secondary role in the other movies, was amazing as the lead character and brought more depth to the usually cryptic and mysterious Elise. I also want to note that the two child actors, who played the young and teenage Elise did a good job.

Then there are the characters of Specs and Tucker, played by Leigh Whannell (who wrote the script for this film and directed the third Insidious chapter) and Angus Sampson respectively. I never really had anything against both of them; they lighten up Elise’s dark world full of ghosts and are generally likeable personas… maybe not so much Tucker. In this film, though, both of them are extremely annoying, while at the same time being of much help to Elise, a mixed bag so to say. There was also a short romantic subplot for Specs, which did not really fit into the story and felt awkward as well as forced. The Demon is the weakest of the characters, a fact that came as a bit of a surprise for me because the entities in these flicks are usually very terrifying. Here though, it appears in its complete form during the third act and doesn’t look or act that menacing after all. It was rather the people under the spell of that demon that was truly frightening. Adam Robitel did a good and efficient job of directing this movie. The horror sequences are well shot; in fact, Robitel and cinematographer Toby Oliver manages to induce a claustrophobic atmosphere to a lot of the scary sequences. One of the most effective scenes includes a couple of suitcases dumped into a ventilation shaft and while this flick does rely heavily on jump scares, there is not one that was false. The special effects are okay, but it isn't an issue since most of this picture plays in the dark.


Verdict: In the end, The Last Key is an all-right horror flick, especially when considering that it is the fourth chapter of a franchise. The story is intriguing, even though the beginning can drag a little until something truly scary happens. Lin Shaye is terrific in her lead role, managing to carry the film by herself and the cinematography and effects are good enough. What drags this film down are the characters of Specs and Tucker and their unfunny dialogues, as well as the build-up to a romance that doesn’t feel natural at all. Other than that, this fourth Insidious movie is a good enough, and possibly last part of the series. Due to that reason, I will give Insidious: The Last Key a 7.0 out of 10.

If you liked the previous Insidious movies you will probably enjoy this one, otherwise, I would recommend you stay away from this film. Thank you for reading my review and if you liked it, please share, subscribe and give it a thumbs up.

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