Insidious: The Last Key ~ A Capsule Movie Review by Allen Kopp
Successful horror movies spawn sequels. First there was Insidious and then Insidious 2, then Insidious 3, and now there’s Insidious: The Last Key. Where will it all end?
The character Elise Rainier (played by Lin Shaye) is a woman in her seventies. She is at the center of all the Insidious movies, even if she is not the main character, because she is a psychic and has spent her life battling malevolent demons who are always out to do harm to the living. In Insidious: The Last Key, Elise Rainier revisits her childhood in a house in New Mexico. The year is 1953 and ten-year-old Elise sees ghosts all around her; the house that she and her family live in is in fact haunted. Her mother understands her, but her brutal, TV-watching father thinks that all Elise needs is a good beating every now and then. He forces her to lean against a wall and beats her on the back with a cane. It turns out there’s a malevolent demon haunting the Rainier home that forces Elise’s father to beat her and do other bad things that we find out about later in the movie.
The demon kills Elise’s mother and then Elise and her younger brother are left with the cruel father. When Elise is sixteen, she gets enough of her father’s brutality and leaves home, never to return. Then we fast-forward to 2010 when Elise is quite a bit older. She gets a call from a man who says his house is being taken over by evil spirits and needs her help to get rid of them. When the man gives Elise his address, she recognizes it as the haunted house in New Mexico where she lived as a child. She travels to the house with her two comic-relief sidekicks, Specs and Tucker, ghost hunters who have been in all the Insidious movies.
The current owner of the house is a working-class man named Ted Garza. He lives in the house alone, but, as we learn as the movie progresses, he does some of the same bad stuff that Elise’s father did decades earlier in the same house, courtesy of the malevolent demon who has taken up residence. As in all the Insidious movies, Elise must go head-to-head with an unspeakably evil supernatural monster. Its good versus evil.
The first Insidious movie is one of the best horror movies ever made, a truly creepy journey to the other side, which in this instance is called “the Further.” Each sequel in the series, though, is less effective than the one before it. Insidious: The Last Key shows that maybe the series is wearing thin and it’s time to retire it. Why is the demon with its long fingers never really explained? Why does it haunt the house in New Mexico? What is the significance of the keys? What about the little boy whose ghost plays with Elise’s toys? How did he die in childhood? Why is the prison where criminals are executed mentioned and shown at the beginning of the movie and then never again? Does the prison have anything to do with the demon? Insidious: The Last Key would have been a better movie if all these dangling plot points had been explained.
Copyright © 2018 by Allen Kopp