You can never really go home again…unless of course it’s a prequel…
Now on Blu-Ray; this fourth installment in the Insidious franchise; Insidious: The Last Key which just happens to be the SECOND prequel to it all and a direct sequel to Part 3 isn’t without some stylistic wins but it doesn’t override the fact that it’s all just getting a little too convoluted for its own good, and shooting in the dark isn’t really a substitute for character development and generating any quality scares.
With Insidious: The Last Key we once again meet parapsychologist Dr Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) who returns to her family home to face the unrelenting demons that have plagued her since childhood. Accompanied by her two investigative partners, Specs and Tucker, Elise must delve deeper into the Further to unlock the mystery and destroy her greatest fear.
While having this franchise see its third helmer in four outings, Insidious: The Final Key looks good enough but doesn’t really make for anything scary but in an odd twist actually ends up adding to the development of a character that you can’t help but wish we got a couple of movies ago.
It’s hard to believe that this Insidious franchise is actually going all Fast & Furious on us but Leigh Whannell who just serves as a writer and still on as a star takes us deeper into the Further with results that aren’t necessarily super scary but are at least attempting to make it all play out as something a little more than just a straight up horror movie. Granted I’m not saying it works, but it’s nice to see a story like aspire to something a little more grandiose then you might expect.
With Adam Robitel; a young and competent hand coming over from the Paranormal Activity franchise the movie moves well enough and despite shooting far too much of it all in the dark it still looks pretty slick and well beyond its modest production budget. You could see Whannel’s influence all over the frame though as it tries to hit us with plot points that are a little convoluted and hammer with detail in the story to make it all tie back together to the original film. Nothing is really terrible to be honest but it all happens in such a roundabout fashion that it’s just hard to really get invested in, because while it looks great there’s just no terror and to be honest barely any emotion throughout the picture, except for in our leading lady.
Lin Shaye has never been afraid to work as her 200 on screen credits certainly give proof to that but as she steps into the skin of Elise Rainier once again here; she actually succeeds in giving us something unexpected from a horror film, actual compelling character work. We’ve seen the trials and tribulations of this character and as she truly looks to confront the litany of demons at her door and make peace with her past and how it has shaped who she is, we get invested in her as a human being. It’s not any kind of search for redemption, but the need to find away to move on from her past and allow herself to embrace her role in the universe once and for all. The usual players return with Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson taking the sidekick roles as per the norm while the likes of Catlin Gerard, Kirk Acevado, Spencer Locke, Josh Stewart, Tessa Ferrer and Bruce Davidson all add a little flavour to the affair, the film really never gets beyond the story arc of Elise. There’s nothing wrong with that, even though the horror factor of it all never rose above a soft 2 or 3 on a scale of ten, since it was all creepy and moody but never really THAT scary.
As you’d expect, the picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are first rate and the special features include some deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a myriad of behind the scenes featurettes focusing on various aspects of the production of the film.
When all is said and done, Insidious: The Last Key is for the hardcore fans of the franchise and that’s fine but it was kind of nice to see everyone involved in this franchise some sort of emotionally satisfying ending…even if it wasn’t a perfect one.