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.