Movie Review: ‘Insidious: The Last Key’
Director: Adam Robitel
Cast: Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Spencer Locke, Caitlin Gerard
Plot: A psychic who grew up suffering childhood abuse and hauntings now investigates hauntings along with a pair or whacky ghost hunters. In this particular case she’s revisiting her childhood home.
Review: This is fourth movie in the Insidious series and technically the sequel to the prequel that chronologically predates the original film (is that clear?). Original director James Wan has long left the franchise to talk to fish and his long time collaborator Leigh Whannell has stepped down from the director role to just write and mug in a comic relief role, leaving the guy who made the last Paranormal Activity film to take the reigns. It’s possible this guy is brought in to kill horror franchises without it looking they’d actually given up on it.
We return to the Insidious established world where creepy demons and spirits haunt people and houses and people generally have to go into their Dark World to retrieve some wayward loved ones. With the mythology already in place there’s nothing much to explore Lin’s background and reveal a few twists about her childhood. In the early parts of the film there are some effective jump scares and some genuinely unsettling scenes of physical abuse at the hands of her father.
From there we get into generic Insidious/Blumhouse haunted house malarky. Some scary faces appear behind people, there’s some scenes where it’s hard to see something creepy in the shadows, generally not enough lighting to go around and some terrible decision making. It all builds up to the reveal of ‘Keyface’, a nasty demon who’s been making people imprison and murder women. What should have been a disturbing and twisted final confrontation is diminished by a cheap looking dark dimension and make-up effects on the demon of the day. He’s some skinny thing with keys for fingers and no nose and stops being scary the moment we see him in his realm. The idea of ‘Keyface’ using his key fingers to ‘switch off’ people’s voices was creepy and could have been taken further, but instead the monster just slaps people and sends them flying through the air.
More than anything this is a film centred around a couple of background characters from the original. We don’t have Patrick Wilson or Rose Byrne to elevate the script, we have tired, cheesy delivery of some seriously purple prose.
There’s some effective jumps and a few moments of dread. Sadly this is a horror film that wouldn’t be able to push boundaries if it was a cartographer.
Rating: THREE out of TEN