The producers of The Purge, Annabelle and Get Out, James Wan and Jason Blum, have joined to make Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth film in the Insidious franchise but definitely not the last in the series as the end is left wide open for more to come.  By the end of The Last Key, a prequel of sorts, you’ll be happy to know there’s more on the way but will notice there may be new major players to replace old critical roles.  It’ll be interesting to see this narrative blossom.  Whether you’ve seen the other three in the franchise or not, this film works and here’s why. 
They start off by giving us the backstory of, Elise (Shaye), a primary character in all three previous films.  She’s a loving, caring person who wants to help everyone who experiences paranormal activity as she has.  It’s these experiences that made her who she is today, a woman continually haunted by and battling, evil spirits.  Her, as she says in the film, ‘presence draws them out of their dark little corners.’  We see her throw caution to the wind and walk into to a horribly terrifying place; a place so chilling even she, an expert in her field, is having trouble walking into it… the very home she grew up in.

The house was next to the state penitentiary where people were put to death.  At her young age, she has the power to see souls who cross over to the other side, a skill that scares her little brother Ben, concerns her mother and angers her father.  Unfortunately, her father is so bothered by her gift that he hopes to whip it out of her, thrashing her across the backside severely if she mentions it.  No matter the swift retribution, she doesn’t lie to him so when asked directly if she saw something, she always tells the truth.  Young Elise, played remarkably well by actress Ava Kolker, who has us practically in tears watching her take her punishment of beatings and being sent to the dark and scary basement, screams and cries for her daddy to understand but he never stops his assault on her and acts just as horribly, if not more so, than any monster she’d ever come across.  This is why she grows up to be so forceful and effective later in life.

Elise works with a couple of young men from Spectral Sightings, Tucker (Sampson) and Specs (Whannell), who fancy themselves Ghost Hunters.  They record Elise as she attempts to reach the spirits.  Though these two are a bit goofy and annoying at times, they do help break the tension for the audience.  They’re the comic relief so to speak.  Tucker and Specs go with her to New Mexico when she’s summoned to face the entity within the house she grew up in for the current occupant of the residence.  Knowing what he’s facing, she feels she can’t leave him to face it alone.

Overall, I had a good time watching this installment of Insidious.  The acting was good and the scare factor was high.  I like where it left off and what you see coming.  I had a little problem with the look of the cheap cobwebs the set designer used and the fact that things, which have been sitting around for nearly sixty years, are still, largely, in fine shape.  Those things take me out of the moment sometimes but the jump scares whenever Elise is in that home are fantastic.  Little things like dust and blankets won’t detract from the terror going on in those scenes.  When she gets back in the house, she’s drawn into the dark, the further, and ends up bringing her brother’s young daughters down with her. 
The story is layered really well and there are surprises that’ll take you deeper and deeper into what she experiences, something you hope you never witness.  Director Adam Robitel keeps a grip on you by taking the innocence away from the young and making you ride with them on a frightening road to hell.  The discovery of who her father was will sneak up on you in such a way that you’ll applaud this effort and stay interested in taking the journey with this filmmaker in the future.  Any horror fan will enjoy his endeavors here.

doctor strange

Doctor Strange

“Doctor Strange” is filled with fantastic characters that are so magnificently played it’ll be difficult to say this isn’t one of, if not the, best Marvel has conjured up in the casting department.  You are immediately drawn to Cumberbatch and his arrogant and cocksure attitude as neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange.  Dr. Strange is very skilled with his hands and he has become self-centered and shallow, even enough to lose someone who he feels may be beneath him as he gets better and better in the operating room.  Dr. Strange could never admit to needing anyone; they need him.  His ego extends to the love department, as well, and his on-again, off-again relationship with Christine Palmer (McAdams) is strained at best.

Speeding on a winding road during a storm (where he’s on a phone call you need to pay attention to), leads to an unfortunate accident where his hands become one with the dash and are severely injured.  He is rushed to the hospital where the surgeons can save his life but his hands will never be the same.  Of course had he been the surgeon, they would be perfect.  Now in constant pain and unable to be a surgeon, he is lost.  Christine has done all she can to help and comfort him but she realizes ultimately that he must find his own way.  On this journey, he is lead to Karma-Taj where he meets Mordo (Ejiofor) who introduces him to the Ancient One (Swinton).  He begins to train his body by learning to understand that the physical is merely one part of a person.  He is shown that he can heal his physical body through reprogramming his cells and connecting to his spirit.  It is an honor to watch Ejiofor and Swinton work alongside one another.  They’re transformative and their commitment to the roles plays well in this newest Marvel film and as much as they are, the film is visually beautiful.  Streets fold in on themselves as characters move through different dimensions and doorways which conjure feelings of the very optical film “Inception”.

“Doctor Strange” is filled with fantastic characters that are so magnificently played…this Marvel movie will not disappoint.
Shari K. Green

Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager,

As well as being a visual masterpiece, the fight sequences are brilliant.  Dr. Strange is brought into the fold and taught magic to help fight off dark forces and a rogue student named Kaecilius (Mikkelsen).  Strange isn’t interested at first because he became a doctor to save lives, not take them but is forced into helping when it’s obvious that he was born for the part, much like Cumberbatch was born to play this role in the Marvel Comics Universe.

Stan Lee pops up in a fun scene on a bus while they’re in the mirror dimension so look for that.   I promise, this Marvel movie will not disappoint.  There is a strong theme, you’ll love the comedic elements, the performances are perfect and the script is strong.  There is a good set up for the next movie and, as always, stay through the very, very end credits.  There will be two post credit clips.  Enjoy! 

Ouija: Origin of Evil Trailer 2

It was never just a game. Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at number one. In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.