By COLBY DENTON
An eerie undertone is present. Random sounds come from all corners of a room. Then, all-of-a-sudden, screeching violins fill the screen with the main title, INSIDIOUS! "Insidious: The Last …
An eerie undertone is present. Random sounds come from all corners of a room. Then, all-of-a-sudden, screeching violins fill the screen with the main title, INSIDIOUS!
"Insidious: The Last Key” still manages to be a sound, well-rounded horror film, despite being the fourth movie in the “Insidious” franchise. Astral projection, demonic manipulation and foreshadowing are ever-present and make for a fun, enjoyable scare.
For those of you who have seen these films, you have followed the adrenaline-fueled adventures of Elise Rainier and her two ghost-busting employees, Tucker and Specs, into the supernatural limbo known as The Further. “Insidious,” as a whole, has been a great movie series. It started with an original idea and blossomed from that point on, with most films centering on 74-year-old Elise, played by Lin Shaye.
“Last Key” starts in Five Keys, New Mexico, coincidentally enough, the hometown of Rainier. The first bit of the film portrays how she grew up in an abusive household. Using her obvious psychic abilities to speak to lost spirits as a young girl of around 10, Rainier is secretly encouraged by her mother, but physically beaten for her “devilish” talk by her abusive father, who is also the warden of their nearby prison. Rainier, not wanting her gift in the first place, often pleads with her father that her ability is not a lie, which always is met with severe, unorthodox punishment. It is through these harsh, parental reprimands that Rainier accidentally unleashes a demon known as Keyface, which feeds off hate and anguish, two things that are abundant in their house.
Pros of this film include the storyline, average scares and acting, and there are not many cons to report.
Shaye, playing an adult Rainier (as in the other “Insidious” movies) masterfully carries this film. She is the central character, and she handles it well! To be such a small, frail lady, she is incredibly fierce and brave, which has been evident from the first film. While this film wasn’t as scary as its predecessors 1, 2 or 3, it certainly has a good storyline that delves into the character’s backstory, which was left untouched in the past films. This isn’t a series that focuses on heavy blood and gore; instead, it focuses on an eerie, abysmal threat which is bolstered by an extremely well-designed storyline.
Scares are are an accepted and oddly desired norm of horror films. Some people watch just to be scared, while others do so for the adrenaline rush mixed with storyline. I’m more of the latter. This film was definitely full of legitimate scares. By that I mean there weren’t any random kitty cats jumping out. Instead, all of the scares were pertinent to the plot itself, and usually involved something malevolent emerging from the shadows. While this film wasn’t as spooky as its predecessors, it certainly did not seem out of place, and offered several scares that were very genuine. While being lighter on the scares, this movie still felt like an “Insidious” flick.
The acting is always beautifully done in these films. I never see a bad performance, and “Last Key” continues this positive stretch. Shaye performs in such a way as to make one truly feel sorrow for her harsh past. Tucker and Specs have their awkward, funny moments, as usual. The other actors, with less screen time, also do a phenomenal job. I’m always convinced by the acting in an “Insidious” flick, which will make you feel like looking over your shoulder when you get home.
“Last Key” definitely has its underlying messages, as most well-made movies do. Keyface, in particular, being the titular villain of this film, utilizes keys on his fingers to unlock different doors in The Further and control different aspects of the realm, as well as reality, once it's unleashed. He can also silence a screaming human by simple touch. He needs humans to feel hate and anguish in order to survive, which is why he latches onto Elise’s father’s feelings of fear for her gift. In a very "Amityville Horror"-esque manner, Keyface drives inhabitants of its house to commit heinous acts through mental manipulation. This movie’s message seems to be to always forgive and not let fear guide your life, as it did Elise’s father. Acceptance is also a focus. His fear simply fed into Keyface, which made the demon stronger and affected the lives of all its inhabitants.
If you like horror, this is a solid January flick. While most horror films released in January are lackluster, this one shines through the darkness. If you haven’t seen the other “Insidious” films, you will be all right. Like many series-based movies, this is technically a prequel, as it delves into the life of Rainier before her introduction in the first “Insidious.”
The only reason I would suggest watching its predecessors first is to get the enjoyable feeling of remembering certain aspects of the previous films that are present in “Last Key.” Go watch it, get scared, laugh at yourself, then enjoy the fun, spooked feeling that horror movies elicit following the closing of the curtain.
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