“Insidious: The Last Key” stars Lin Shaye as she reprises her role as Elsie Rainier, a paranormal investigator, and parapsychologist of a unique ability that allows her to resist demonic forces. The film is the fourth installation in the Insidious franchise and is marketed as the final film in the series.
The film is directed by “Paranormal Activity” director Adam Robitel who joins Leigh Whannell that has directed the preceding “Insidious” films. The duo is also joined by a powerful assembly of producers that include Academy Award Nominee for Best Picture Jason Blum (“Get Out”), Oren Peli (“Area 51,” “Paranormal Activity,” and “Insidious” franchises) and James Wan who has previously worked on the “Insidious” franchise and is slated to direct the Aquaman film in 2018.
The wealth of experience on screen does not disappoint as Shaye, who is now collectively referred to as the scream queen for her roles in different horror franchises over the decade, which include “Ouija” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” continues to wow audiences with her amazing skills.
The plot centers on a young version of Elsie Rainier and gives the character more depth through exploring different childhood experiences. The culminate of these experiences express her arc in a way that we identify why the character in Rainier is displayed as “aged.” An enormous component of the franchise thus far has relied on us understanding the ethos of Rainier’s character arc. The audience trusts her in the prequels because from the most basic standpoint she was all that was presented as a resolution to the powerful demonstrative force of the supernatural.
“The Last Key” gives a lesson of the history of the franchise that brings the whole series full circle. Character arcs from the very beginning are explained in a way that all can appreciate. The opening prologue of young Elsie brings viewers into this understanding slowly and progressively. The movie relies on jump scares, as most horror flicks do, but the scares are real; they are not prodded by an excessive amount of bird or falling object. The things that ‘go bump in the night’ are truly terrifying and oppressive. The weight of the movie is felt as scene by scene “The Last Key” becomes intense. The gravity of the themes expressed also adds an extra layer of weight on audiences as it continues to expose family trauma and abuse.
The soundtrack consists of one song that is just enough to scare audiences but lacks the overall the creep factor that was produced by the previous installments like, “Tiptoes through the Tulips” by Tiny Tim.
Character chemistry on screen was normal with most of the dynamics exploding with every instance Shaye is on screen. The other two spectral investigators that have joined forces with older Elsie try as much as possible to provide comedic relief to the audience, but what is felt is a cringe-worthy experience. Supplementary to this some larger reveals that occur on screen are supposed to serve as a shock and awe factor, but it never launches well. Another testament to the failure of big reveals is the final antagonist near the final act, which is scary but lacks the “je ne sais quoi” of a terrifying villain.
Overall, audiences have reacted fairly well to this movie, and it is reflected in the box office. Audiences are suckers for continuity, and it provides a base for filmmakers to see a return on their investment; “The Last Key” does that and multiples it by 10. The production reported an approximate value of a $10 million budget and had seen since its release $144 million worldwide in revenue. Critics have not been so accepting of the latest installment as movie aggregates Rotten Tomatoes has given the movie a 31 percent and Metacritic a meager 49 out of 100 with mixed to low reviews from both sects.
The amazing feat here is that the cast has been led by Shaye who is now 74 years old and is a pleasure to see as she never ceases to amaze on screen. By the fourth installment in franchises, audiences usually get tired of seeing certain characters, which has not been the case here. It is marvelous and refreshing to have on-screen characters that are not superheroes or joined in a cinematic universe that has been overexploited to experience some success.
Adding emphasis to the effect this movie impresses on audiences is the fact that January provides most of Hollywood’s film “garbage pit” as it is known for terrible movies. Though “The Last Key” is not perfect by any means, it provides continuity and closure (if not another origin point) to the franchise.diences, January provides most of Hollywood’s film “garbage pit” as it is known for terrible movies. Though “The Last Key” is not perfect by any means it provides continuity and closure (if not another origin point) to the franchise.