The “Insidious” franchise is now on their fourth installment and already the train is running out of steam. Or, more importantly, the production team is running out of steam. This fourth movie, the second prequel, takes place just before the events of the first movie and once again follows series favorite Elise (Lin Shaye) going back to her childhood home to get rid of some evil spirits plaguing the house’s new owner.
The movie, itself a flashback, by giving us a flashback to 1953 when Elise was just a little girl who could talk to ghosts and get beaten for it. This opening, and the whole movie really, give us a glimpse into the Elise character and what made her the way she is at the start of the first “Insidious.” She is followed once again by her dynamic duo of Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell).
Tucker and Specs have some great moments in this movie. My audience was laughing at some of their hijinks. I’ve always questioned the idea of Leigh Whannell (he wrote the movie) writing himself into these movies, but it works here and doesn’t detract from the overall story. The biggest smack in the face here is that, with exception of a few scenes, this movie runs very slow and it never picks up.
We jump from scene to scene, getting a lot of information about Elise and her back-story, but never any big fight or tangle with a ghost or demon. There’s a revelation at the end that puts the other movies in the series into perspective, but it’s just basically told to us. Where are the big jump scares? Where’s all the scary imagery? Instead of calling this a horror movie, it would be better to call it a thriller. The whole thing just felt very bland. The story had some good ideas but missed out on execution.
The hand with keys for fingers that is in all the promo materials is a great image, but never gets used to its full potential. There’s also a second psychic in this movie that may leave potential for another spin-off, but do we really need one? Maybe Blum House needs to leave the Insidious universe alone for a while and focus on new stuff.
Overall, Lin Shaye was great as Elise and was the only thing holding the movie together. Tucker and Specs were funny companions, but without Elise they wouldn’t work so well. The supporting cast is passable, and the story has some good stuff in it. But alas, the movie never amps up or changes tone. It was just there.
I give this movie 2 stars out of 5.
“Insidious: The Last Key” is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content, violence and terror, and brief strong language; and has a running time of 103 minutes.