Pushing Further: INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY (2018) Review

The 4th entry in the horror franchise follows Elise between Insidious 3 and the original film. She get a phone call from a man saying his home is being haunted. She then discovers that the house he is now living in is the same home from her troubled childhood. While at first hesitant to return, Elise faces the demon that plagued her as a young girl.

Lin Shaye returns as the psychic Elise. And she is better than ever. The story gives us more insight into Elise’s past when she was just discovering her abilities, as well as the abuse she succumbed by her father. While her background isn’t exactly needed, it does serve as a way to make the story focus more on the fan-favorite Elise, as opposed to focusing on another haunted family. Shaye provides her best performance of the series, and quite possibly one of the best of her career. We’ve seen Elise’s bad ass and comedic side, as well as her compassionate side. But here we see a much more personal, afraid, and emotional side that really rounds her character even more. For the first half of the film it does play out like a by-the-numbers supernatural film, but around the halfway point it throws us a couple of nice plot twists that help change the story up into something we haven’t seen in the series before.

In a way, this film works much better as a dramatic suspense film as opposed to a horror. It’s very atmospheric, well-filmed, and the set design is great, but there isn’t much suspense, and even the jump scares are half-assed. And in some ways, the script can be very rushed and undeveloped in some places. There are characters that deserved to be much more developed instead of being used as mere plot devices in order to push the story along. While this entry does try to do something different with its plot, and for the most part it works, it doesn’t do anything particularly special or needed to the series. I really do hope that this is in fact the final film in the franchise, it perfectly wraps up Elise’s story, and let’s be real, we don’t want to see an Insidious film without Lin Shaye’s character at the center of it all. It implies that a new character may carry on the torch from Elise (as you know her character dies), but I feel like that will only make these films go completely downhill. But like the previous films, I think this entry’s biggest flaws are the characters of Specks and Tucker. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson’s performances are fine, but the characters themselves still remain two of the most annoying characters to exist in horror. There isn’t anything funny about them or their lines. They’re just cringe-worthy more than anything, and it’s even worse in this film.

If you’re a big fan of the Insidious films, chances are you’ll really enjoy this one. If you’re on the fence about this one, or just don’t care, you’ll probably want to pass, because it won’t change anything for you. It’s not the worst film in the franchise (that goes to Chapter 2 for me), and it doesn’t rank up there with 1 or even 3 (which I really enjoyed), but it has its own special place in the middle.

–Cody Landman