INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, the latest in the Insidious franchise, is a terrifying addition that sets the franchise back on course while providing an abundance of scares along with some emotional and heartfelt moments. The movie, directed by Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan), was once again written by Leigh Whannell (Insidious) and stars Lin Shaye (Insidious), Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson (Insidious), Caitlin Gerard (Smiley), Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife), Javier Botet (REC) and Josh Stewart (The Collector).
I can remember the first time I watched Insidious, almost eight years ago, and the shock that I felt over being terrified and stunned that a PG-13 movie, specifically a horror one, could scare me as much as the first one did. Fast forward to now, and we’ve had a few sequels which have now brought us full circle to the point where fans would get the chance to learn more about Elise Rainer’s (Shaye) upbringing. In INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, we are shown Elise’s childhood through flashbacks that focus on the treatment of her insanely strict father (Stewart) and the punishments he would bestow upon Elise the more she tapped into her psychic abilities. Through all of this, a demonic presence is unleashed and we get our first glimpse into The Further, forcing Elise to return back to her childhood home to destroy her demons once and for all.
I went into this film with pretty high expectations as I’ve been a fan of all the previous movies as well as Robitel’s The Taking of Deborah Logan. With all that said, I’m happy to report that INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY did not disappoint in any way whatsoever. Between the engaging storyline, the moments of pure terror and stress, and the emotional roller coaster of feelings towards certain characters, I left this movie with a giant smile on my face and my mind blown. A fear I always have with a successful franchise is that eventually the characters will become tiresome and fresh ideas will be less forthcoming; however, with INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY, this was not the case.
I think one of the strongest aspects of this film franchise is the recurring use of the characters Elise, Specs (Whannell), and Tucker (Sampson). Watching their story arcs throughout these four films, especially in the case of Elise’s, has allowed viewers a chance to become better acquainted with these characters while also wanting to know more about their stories. In regards to Elise’s upbringing, it was done in a way that made you not only feel for her but want to save her from the pain and heartache that her father inflicted upon her. Those moments, especially in the beginning of the movie, really hit a raw nerve with me, resulting in an emotional connection that I was not expecting. What Robitel and Whannell managed to do with this film was make it so that it was much more than just scare tactics and cheap thrills, instead it had a heavy dose of heartfelt emotional responses that were unexpected and much needed. By doing this, it elevated the franchise to a higher level making it surpass any doubts that it was a throw-away horror film.
In regards to the acting, I couldn’t be happier with the performances of everyone involved. Whether that be with the legendary Lin Shaye, who always brings her A-game, or the chemistry, humor, and wit between Leigh Whannell’s and Angus Sampson’s characters, this film delivers in all the right ways. Though the above names are who really drive the Insidious franchise, I need to give a special shout out to Josh Stewart, who plays Elise’s father. I’ve been a fan of Stewart for years and always felt like he was underappreciated in his talents so I was glad to see him take on a role that evoked both a feeling of hatred and sadness from me. I hope this is another launching off point for Stewart because I truly believe he’s an underutilized talent. Same goes for Javier Botet, the man behind the many layers of grotesque makeup. Though you many not recognize him on the street, he’s the one responsible for your nightmares in not only this film, but many other horror films.
All in all, I really loved everything about INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. I feel as though Robitel was handed the torch to the franchise and delivered ten folds while Whannell proved once again that he has a knack for storytelling and making fans feel an emotional connection to his characters. I enjoyed learning about the origin story of Elise as well as the gut wrenching moments that she experiences. In terms of horror and being scared, I felt like this film delivered without having to fall back on gratuitious gore. Sure, it’s filled with a lot of jump scares, but when done right, they can be a lot of fun (if also a bit stressful for the viewer – I’m a wuss). To me, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY was the perfect film to revitalize the franchise while also making it the most disturbing to date. If you are a fan of the previous movies or love a terrifying origin story, then make sure to check out INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY when it’s released nationwide this Friday, January 5, 2018.