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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

'Insidious: The Last Key' - A Mixed Bag with Chilling Moments and Engaging Narrative

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 of 5)

Released 01-05-2018

Watched 07-04-2023

Reviewed 07-11-2023

Watched on Amazon Prime Buy or Rent Now


"She's psychic. We're sidekicks."


'Insidious: The Last Key,' directed by Adam Robitel, is the fourth installment in the popular 'Insidious' franchise. The movie traces the deeply personal and traumatic journey of the beloved parapsychologist Elise Rainier (played by Lin Shaye) as she grapples with the horrors that lurk within her childhood home. Acting as a sequel to 'Insidious: Chapter 3' and a prequel to 'Insidious,' 'Insidious: Chapter 2', and 'Insidious: The Red Door,' this film had high expectations to meet. While it partially succeeds, it, unfortunately, falls short in some key areas.


'Insidious: The Last Key' sets itself apart with its focus on Elise’s backstory, bringing a refreshing depth to her character. Shaye does an excellent job as Elise, breathing life into her character's emotional struggle and determination. The dynamic between Elise and her investigative partners, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), adds a much-needed lightness to the tense atmosphere, balancing the macabre with moments of humor.


However, the film struggles with pacing. The plot meanders, and at times, the script lacks the punch to drive the narrative effectively. It tends to rely heavily on jump scares rather than building a steady, creeping dread that made the earlier movies so effective. These shortcomings disrupt the tension that should be ever-present in a horror film of this caliber.


The demon design is another area where the movie falters. Unlike the chilling entities from the previous movies, the primary antagonist of 'The Last Key' feels somewhat lackluster. This might disappoint hardcore fans who expect a certain level of horror and creativity from the franchise.


In terms of continuity, 'The Last Key' does a commendable job linking the narratives from the previous and subsequent installments. However, viewers unfamiliar with the timeline may need to do some homework to fully appreciate these connections.


In conclusion, 'Insidious: The Last Key' is a mixed bag. On one hand, it provides an engrossing narrative and enriches the 'Insidious' universe by delving into Elise's past. On the other, it falls short in the pacing and horror department, leaving viewers wanting more. It earns three stars for its solid performances, backstory development, and continuity with the series. Nevertheless, it does not reach the height of terror the franchise is known for. This film will certainly appeal to fans of the franchise, but if you're new to the 'Insidious' series, it might not be the best introduction.

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