Movie Reviews

Insidious: The Last Key – A Mediocre Horror Film Featuring A Great Central Performance

The month of January has usually been a dumping ground for studios to release arguably lesser and more difficult to market films when viewership is lower. The most common genre released during dump months like January are horror films which has been the case the last few years. Will this film continue the trend?

Synopsis: Parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier faces her most fearsome and personal haunting yet – in her own family home.  (IMDB)

Starring: Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Leigh Whannell

Writer: Leigh Whannell

Director: Adam Robitel

Rating: 14A (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 103mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Insidious: The Last Key on movietimes.com.

Instead of advancing the story of Chapter 2, this new film drops the chapter from the title and acts as a sequel to Chapter 3 which was a prequel to Chapter 1. This may be a little confusing to follow but the constant has been Lin Shaye’s parapsychologist Elise Rainier. She has been the best part of the series so far and that continued to be the case here even though the story around her didn’t quite match up.

Anyone who has seen any of the trailers already has an idea of what the story is about. Elise, along with her partners Tucker (Sampson) and Specs (Whannell), has been helping out people with evil spirits for years but the next case wasn’t just any case because this one involved the house where she grew up. Her backstory played a role in the plot but it just muddled the plot more than anything else.

The story hinted at her past using a series of flashbacks featuring a few iterations of Elise (Ava Kolker, Hana Hayes) and her brother Christian (Pierce Pope, Thomas Robie), however, it didn’t go far enough in the past or the present to have an impact in either timeline. The story as a whole would’ve been much better if this part of it were dropped completely.

As a horror film, the story was not original whatsoever with the cliches we’ve come to expect. It was predictable to watch from beginning to end, including all the common place stupid and/or nonsensical twists and turns that just awkwardly tried to make up for questionable plot choices. The film may not have made much sense most of the time but was still compelling to watch thanks to Elise. Her presence gave the film some light amongst the darkness. The story wasn’t original and neither were the many jump scares, albeit not as many as previous films because of its increased focus on the characters. There were also some lighter comedic moments sprinkled throughout, however, they didn’t always land.

As mentioned, Shaye was the best part of the film by far as she delivered another great performance as Elise. She did the most she could with a mediocre script, showing great vulnerability while facing adversities with an equal sense of fear and determination. This made her compelling to watch even though the film was arguably not. The rest of the acting was good but no other characters were worth caring about. The chemistry between Shaye, Sampson, and Whannell as the team of spirit fighters was good but the dialog and the humor with Tucker and Specs was mediocre. Ultimately, the problem with this being a second prequel is that there were no stakes since we know the characters’ fates.

Overall, this was a another cliche horror movie with a muddled story full of stupid and/or nonsensical turns that was still watchable thanks to another great performance by Lin Shaye.

Score: 5/10

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