Time: 98 Minutes
Age Rating: M – Violence, offensive language & supernatural themes
Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier
Angus Sampson as Tucker
Leigh Whannell as Specs
Spencer Locke as Melissa Rainier
Caitlin Gerard as Imogen Rainier
Bruce Davison as Christian Rainier
Director: Adam Robitel
Parapsychologist Elise Rainier gets thrust into returning to her eerie childhood home where she and her family have to fight a dangerous otherworldly entity.
In rewatching the Insidious movies in the lead up to the fifth installment The Red Door, I never checked out the fourth movie, particularly after not hearing good things. So I was curious to watch it and I liked it more than I expected.
The Last Key is still a prequel but is set between Chapter 3 and the first film. As usual, Whannell’s script finds a way to tie into the first movie, and includes some connections. Without getting into it too much, it’s clearly intended as the final Insidious movie focussing on Elise. The previous three movies focussed on a family with Elise Rainier coming to their aid in some way in a notable supporting role. Instead, The Last Key has Elise as the protagonist, now dealing with a case which is related to her childhood. As expected, anything involving Elise is pretty great. It looks into her character’s origins and it was interesting watching her backstory. Interestingly the plot is a lot more personal, and it is clearly more interested in its story than delivering scares. It does feel like the story is underdeveloped somewhat, especially with regard to the demon. I do think the demon in this movie is more effective than the one in Chapter 3, but it is still lacking somewhat.
Lin Shaye gives her best performance as Elise Rainier, taking over as protagonist in this movie. She brings such weight to her character and conveys so much here. Naturally, the next major roles would be that of Tucker and Specs played by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell, who become somewhat co-leads alongside Shaye. There are some comedic moments involving them which were a bit much, but they had some good scenes. There are good smaller performances from actors like Josh Stewart and Bruce Davison, but most of the characters outside of the main trio are pretty underdeveloped.
I was sceptical about the direction because it didn’t have a James Wan or even Leigh Whannell behind it, but Adam Robitel’s work was pretty good. The visual effects and the design of the main demon are pretty good, the movie has an eerie atmosphere, and there’s some good tension. The setups of the scares are pretty good, especially with the camera movements. That being said, while it is a well made movie, the imagery and sequences aren’t that memorable for the most part, especially compared to the previous three movies. Most disappointing of all was the score. Despite being done by Joseph Bishara again, it’s not that memorable and it really lacks the iconic and familiar screeching of the violin which made the movies even more unnerving.
Insidious: The Last Key isn’t without its issues, and it’s not on the level of the first two movies. However, it is still decent and enjoyable on the whole, with a solid enough story and a great central performance from Lin Shaye.