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Review: Insidious: The Last Key

Lin Shaye stars in Universal Pictures' INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

With just about every franchise, there comes a time when you have to consider bringing things to an end. This generally happens when you’ve run out of ideas and have exhausted all possibilities. As far as movies like Insidious: The Last Key, things are probably winding down when what you’ve been doing is no longer fresh since every movie is essentially the same and is somehow getting worse.

In this sequel to a prequel, Dr. Elise Ranier’s (Lin Shaye) next assignment leads her down a path that she could have never predicted she would go. After being called on to deal with the supernatural once again, the brilliant parapsychologist ends up back at her childhood home. Here, she finds herself digging back into her past as she uncovers answers to questions that have plagued her for decades while doing her best to solve the mysteries that plagued all who step inside the property.

In spite of trying to implement a new story that’s more personal to the lead, there’s a sense of familiarity haunting The Last Key. It’s at the point where you as a viewer will only be going to see something like this if you want to watch what’s already expected. This could be fine for some people, but it may also signify the end of the series since what’s here is simply not what can be considered good.

Throughout its successful run, the Insidious franchise has been known for its sound execution in providing effective horror to its viewers. So normally, you would anticipate seeing that again, but what’s here seems worn out, overused and empty at this point. In fact, this time around, they rely almost solely on hollow jump scares that prove to be pointless outside of getting some sort of reaction from the audience.

This could be fine for some people, but many of us would prefer something that feels more threatening to the people that we’re asked to follow. Here, you never believe that anyone’s life is in danger at any point in the entire picture. I guess when you create this kind movie with zero depth, that’s what you should expect. What makes that worse is that they actually appeared to want to go a little further in some ways dramatically, but they were still unable or uninterested in building on that.

One of the main features that they did try to develop was the comedy. I’m not against having jokes in a movie that isn’t a comedy, but it’s usually a negative when it’s relied on too much. It becomes even harder to like when the jokes aren’t funny. The Last Key suffers from both of those issues. There are more attempts at trying to make you laugh than they are trying to scare you. And unfortunately, they fail far more often than they succeed.

To make things worse, the start of the movie is so much darker than the rest of it. The setup is the kind of thing that will make a lot of people uncomfortable as they watch and listen. Although it’s not perfectly executed, this creates a foundation for a serious film that could feature plenty of layers that focus on deeper issues. Instead, it ends up having very little to offer while also trying to play alongside so many attempts at humor.

Of course, this makes the tone insanely uneven and takes away anything that should feel important. This will be a problem for many if not most. I guess some could still be satisfied with what they get here. For some, the constant use of jump scares that serve no purpose could be all they need since some people may not be judging this as hard as I am. However, if I had to guess, I’d venture to say that most people will judge this in a way that will lead them to feel similar to the way I do.

Since it fails as much as it does, The Last Key should probably be the last movie of a highly successful franchise. Then again, that also depends on the money it makes. If there’s a large chunk of money at the end of this particular run, we could see at least one more that will “test the waters.” If that happens, I’m hoping they are able to at least make that one better than what they presented to us this time.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Adam Robitel

Lin Shaye
Leigh Whannell
Angus Sampson
Caitlin Gerard
Spencer Locke
Bruce Davison
Kirk Acevedo
Josh Stewart
Tessa Ferrer

Film Length: 103 minutes

Release Date: January 5, 2018

Distributor: Universal Pictures

  • Score - 3.5/10
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