We’re traveling back to The Further for a fourth time in the latest installment to the popular Blumhouse horror franchise with, Insidious: The Last Key. This time, we find psychic Elise Rainier reliving the painful memories of her childhood and returning to the house where they occurred. You can expect the fun scares these films have provided over the last eight years, but after four films, it seems they are struggling to follow through in the last act. Providing a finale that is undeserving for a respected franchise.
In 2010, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) is continuing her business of helping those plagued by hauntings. While she can face the demons of others, she is seemingly tormented by painful memories of her childhood in an abusive house at the hands of her father. Growing up, her ability and desire to communicate with the dead was only accelerated by living in a house that was severely haunted. With a more menacing presence also finding its way inside, that left her family even more broken by tragedy.
Decades pass as she heals her trauma, but Elise is called back to her childhood when the newest owner of the home calls for her help. Along with her sidekicks Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell), they travel to New Mexico to face whatever supernatural force is within. Once there, Elise uncovers more than she ever expected to.
This film takes place not long after the events of Insidious: Chapter 3, and shortly before the first Insidious. The timeline, a bit tricky, but easy to follow if you pay close attention. For the most part, it’s everything you want out of a horror film, and the best of what this franchise has had to offer. There was really no shortage of unpredictable scares, with the audience loving every second of the practical frights. Character actor Javier Botet (Crimson Peak, The Conjuring 2) delivers a perfect main villain with “KeyFace”, and was honestly deserving of way more screen time than he got.
Writer and franchise creator Leigh Whannell did a great job at creating a compelling story that fit perfectly inside his terrifyingly imaginative world. The character of Elise has been the heart of all these films, so it was wonderful to elaborate on her story more. However, there is untapped potential in the final moments that when the film ends, leaves you wanting more.
When this film approaches the third act, something seemingly goes amiss as it loses track and tosses away the scares – favoring a soft, sentimental moment in the peak of the most climactic part. This was the most troubling part for an otherwise entertaining movie and really derailed the excitement for the viewer. It was far too simplistic.
Even more frustrating seemed to be the lack of final spooky scenes. Looking back at the various trailers that were released, it seems that there was quite a bit cut out of the sequence where we find our protagonists in The Further. Specifically scenes that feature more spirits that would have surely been an interesting part and brought a better scare factor during the otherwise dull sequence.
I wouldn’t go so far to say the film was a total fault to the franchise. It certainly added another great layer to Elise and interestingly ties into the first. The frights did what they were there to do and overall it was thoroughly entertaining and creepy. Which makes it all the more frustrating that the third act falls apart so quickly and delivers a very lackluster ending.
Insidious: The Last Key is in theaters this Friday!