Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review: "Insidious: The Last Key" has gas in the tank, but running on fumes

Insidious: The Last Key Review

I generally like the “Insidious” movies, I think by and large the franchise has been successful. Over time, its hard for any franchise to keep up such a powerful pace. The cracks start to shine through and its hard to keep pushing movies out and making something new and exciting out of them. Most of the time, the franchises begin to fall on their faces. Other times, they continue to work, but audiences can’t help but notice walking in a circle, doing the exact same thing we’ve seen before.

“Insidious: The Last Key” is still full of some creepy energy, that I can’t deny. There were times when I had to cover my face, because even I become a 12-year-old sissy-pants when the mood and atmosphere of a horror movie is really freaking me out. But the story is a little more boring this time. It feels like they had story for a nice short film, but wanted to drag their ideas out for a full length movie. The actors seem bored, or just so set in their ways that they feel too comfortable. I am not sure, its hard to tell. The ideas presented aren’t bad ones either, this is possibly the most personal of all the “Insidious” movies, but somehow its also the most boring of the bunch.

This franchise may have started with The Lambert Family, which was brought to life by Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. But now, the franchise no doubt belongs to Elise (Lin Shay) the person who saved the Lambert Family and her assistance Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell) who chase ghosts and help people with hauntings. In this fourth film, we meet Elise as a little girl, and the home she grew up in was a haunted one. That is how she figured out that it was the house she grew up in where she realized that she had powers. Despite having an abusive father (Josh Stewart) who wanted to beat the idea of talking to ghosts out of her, she still never denied it. But one night, an evil force so great came to visit young Elise, and it got her mother killed.

The movie jumps to 2010, and Elise gets a call from Mr. Garza (Kirk Acevedo) who is experiencing a haunting, and he lives at the address Elise grew up in, the home that Elise actually ended up running away from because her father was too terrible, leaving her younger brother. She originally doesn’t want Specs and Tucker to go, but being the loyal team that they are, they hitch a ride to Elise’s hometown, and she plans to defeat the same evil that took her mother so many years ago.

The “Insidious” movies have perfected the art of boo scares, and there is not a shortage of them in this movie. There are plenty of great scares in the film, not just boo-scares but some subtle stuff that you may not notice if you aren’t paying attention. The franchise has got really good at creating a massive amount of unease, and I bet most horror fans will get a kick out of some of the scares in this film. I think those who have enjoyed this franchise up to this point will enjoy going on another astral projected adventure, and I think the ending will be a fun blur of spookiness for the audience.

I just wish the story was better supported. Everybody, for some reason comes off so stiff, perhaps the movie just needed a better screenwriter. Had the movie just been another haunted house movie, it might have worked better. But there’s a cliché-ridden subplot involving Elise finding her brother again, played by Bruce Davidson. There is a ridiculous subplot involving the new owner of Elise’s house that was so silly it felt like it was from a different movie. They could never figure out a provocative way to add these other stories and make a satisfying whole. “Insidious” feels like ten different movies all shoved into one, and the result is a little messy.

Alas, if its scares you want, its scares you are going to get. I think the movie generates enough spooky spectacle that horror fans and fans of this franchise will leave satisfied. I am also not entirely sure this is the last in this franchise. If they decide to make more movies, I hope they strengthen the scripts before shooting them and make sure the actors are given good things to do.


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