Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Movie Review: "Insidious: The Last Key" (2018)

Director: Adam Robitel
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Spiritual medium Elise Rainier returns to her childhood home to help ward off the demons who reside there. She also must battle the many personal demons from her tumultuous past.

"Insidious: The Last Key" is the fourth film in the "Insidious" franchise. It is a sequel to "Insidious: Chapter 3," but is still a prequel to the original "Insidious." It is to "Insidious" what "Rogue One" is to "Star Wars," though it is not nearly as good or as successful. This film is once again written by Leigh Whannell, who has been the writer of the franchise since the beginning of it. Though he returns as the writer of this installment, he takes a step back from directing. Replacing Whannell as director for this fourth film is Adam Robite, who has one other feature film credit in "The Taking of Deborah Logan." Lin Shaye returns as Elise Rainier, and this time, she takes the front and center starring role. Also returning are the aforementioned Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, who reprise their roles as Elise's two assistants Specs and Tucker. Elise is called to her childhood home by its current resident Ted Garza, played by Kirk Acevedo, to help clear it of the ghosts and demons that torment him. This task will also put Elise face-to-face with the demons of her past and the memory of her abusive father, played by Josh Stewart.

The "Insidious" franchise has always been known for its impressive visuals and creative makeup work. Throughout the series, the ghosts in "the Further" have continually had interesting looks about them. In this fourth installment, however, other than the primary demon known as 'Key Face,' most of the ghosts look as generic as possible. In fact, generic is probably the best way to describe "Insidious: The Last Key." It relies primarily on jump scares as its main form of horror. It really fails to build a lot of tension and there is no sense of imminent danger in this installment. We see most of the scares coming. It follows the standard horror movie formula: cue creepy score playing ominously, then a brief moment of silence, and then... BOO!, out jumps a ghost and up goes the volume all the way to 11. There are some elements of the story that had potential, but they are not explored effectively, and as such, make for a conventional, step by step, by the book horror movie with predictable horror moments. Another big problem we have with the film is how skeevy and cringe-worthy some of the humor is. Specs and Tucker have always been the comedic relief characters in this franchise, but here, their comedy is taken to massively uncomfortable places. There are numerous exchanges between these two characters and two young women, played by Melissa Locke and Caitlin Gerard, that come off as predatory. It made us physically uncomfortable to watch these moments that are supposed to be played for laughs. Luckily, Lin Shaye does a solid job carrying this franchise by herself. Let's be honest, she always has. It's good to see her in the lead for once and it's nice to hear her backstory.

"Insidious: The Last Key" had a lot more potential than what we got in this basic and cliche-riddled horror. We have a hunch only hardcore "Insidious" fans will love it. For everyone else, it's best to avoid this movie. Be on the lookout for "Insidious: The New Beginning" coming to theaters in 2020. We assume this only because this sequel prequel has made $100+ million at the box office already.

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 4/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~30%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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