Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

A new horror movie? We went and saw a new horror movie? Yep. We sure did. The results? Well, pretty much exactly what I expected, sadly.

Never forget that before they started the Insidious series, Leigh Whannell and James Wan created the Saw franchise. That one got driven into the ground. And with Insidious: The Last Key, you can feel that the franchise is desperately seeking something new as it whistles past the graveyard, never letting you forget that Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye, A Nightmare on Elm StreetOuijaall of these Insidious movies) died at the end of the first movie.

There’s even a maudlin scene where she talks about how she and her dog have grown old. There are numerous heartstring tugs — well, I should say, attempted tugs — that fall flat.

Where the film succeeds is when it shows us where Elise came from, a home that is possessed by both human and supernatural horror. There’s a sequence there where Elise is sure that there’s someone else in the room with her and her brother that approaches a fright, but the film devolves into by the numbers trips into The Further.

Specks and Tucker (creator Whannell and Angus Simpson) are the other highlights of the film, a welcome bit of fun in an otherwise lumbering mess. The film feels four hours long, with the second half — introducing Elise’s estranged brother (Bruce Davison, The Lords of Salem) and his family — feeling like the only time this film picks up steam.

New baddy Key Face looks interesting (he’s played by Javier Botet, who has a lock on playing spectral evil thanks to roles in Crimson PeakThe Conjuring 2It and the upcoming Polaroid and Slender Man), but we never really learn why he’s doing what he does. I don’t always demand that horror films have backstory — Halloween doesn’t need it — but I felt there was no real motivation here.

This film has been in the can since August of 2016 and was moved from October of last year to make way for Happy Death Day, so the producers have to overjoyed that it’s already made four times of its budget.

Obviously, we’re going to get more of this series. They already set up Imogen Rainier, Elise’s niece, as having her gift. So they can always go back and rewrite the ending of Insidious 2, if they want. I just hope that they try and invest the film with some level of humanity, unlike this effort.

Also, Becca reminded me as we walked to the car that you need to watch these movies in this order: 3, 4, 1, 2. I have the sinking feeling that I’ll be watching the other films this week. I find them all lacking when compared to the Conjuring films.

I just wish that Hollywood would make a horror film I want to see. Looking at the films in Drive-In Asylum makes me sad that at one point, there were so many genre films to choose from. I feel that we have to go out and see every horror film that’s out (fuck, I had to suffer through that It remake this week on video and the trailer for Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare made me throw up blood) just to keep these movies viable. Other than The Witch and Get Out, I’ve been sorely disappointed. Here’s hoping that the rest of 2018’s new horror films easily jump over the very low bar that Insidious: The Last Key sets.

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