Insidious: The Last Key is the 3rd sequel to the Patrick Wilson/Rose Byrne horror franchise and by now, the stars (who can act) have moved on and squarely focuses on Lin Shaye who plays returning character psychic Elise Rainier. In this, Elise returns to her family home to deal with a haunting – one by some sort of weird unexplained demon that has key fingers, and can lock and key away at its victims.
The film fares best in the introductory first act when non of the leads Elise, Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell) feature. It’s focuses on young Elise and her family her mother, abusive father (Josh Stewart) and her brother (Bruce Davison). By focusing on children and dark spooky going ons in the house, the film grips you with tense moments and loud noises and an emotionally charged scene of familial abuse.The vulnerbility of children, a mainstay of horror – as used in The Conjuring, Annabelle and other modern ghost movies adds that dimension of threat.
Once that ends, however the camera frames itself on the trio of spectral hunters – there’s some lame humour in play – the two ghost hunter sidekicks “She’s the psychic, we’re the side kicks” and their sexual awkwardness around women; their reaction to Elise’s nieces are played for laughs but the acting is juvenile and humour forced. The plot and screen space is then locked onto Lin who plays Elise as a doddering somewhat goofy character – She inspects her old bedroom with a bemused look on her face and the expectation the then is that the “creep factor” is built by slow dark rooms.
The second and third plays on the ideal of possession/corruption that the spirt has had on the men of the house and done in an attempt to add some interest to an otherwise average horror flick. That the horror exists outside of the spectral realm. Except here, it doesn’t work in parts because the ghost women are played for scares then not. There’s a fair few extended sequences where nothing happens and the movie relies heavily on shining torches into the dark following by loud noises. Insidious: The Last Key’s inabiltiy to manage tone and its scariness is evident in its finale with a scene involving a whistle and one hell of a punch which had our screening bursting out in laughter.
Rounding out The Last Key, they cast a throw back reference to the first Insidious and at this time, we hope it’s really the last. Lock this up and throw away the key.