By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
James Wan needs to produce and direct every “Insidious” movie from now until forever, because it turned out to be a terrible mistake handing directorial duties over to Adam Robitel (“The Taking of Deborah Logan”) in “Insidious: The Last Key.”
Even screenwriter and star Leigh “Specs” Whannell (“Insidious: Chapter 3”) can’t save this thinly plotted, lazy and surprisingly boring horror flick; which by the way is the fourth installment in the “Insidious” franchise, and the second of the series' in-story chronology. It is the sequel of the prequel following 2015's “Insidious: Chapter 3.”
While that sounds like it could be a lot to build a solid story around, there really isn’t much to “Insidious: “The Last Key.” And Robitel’s “ready-set-go” predictable jump scares provide little to scream out loud about.
“Insidious: The Last Key” opens in New Mexico in 1953. We see a young Elise Rainier (played by Ava Kolker, TV’s “White Famous”) growing up in a decrepit penitentiary in a run-down house and seeing/hearing the first-hand effects of prisoners taking their last breaths as they’re zapped in electric chairs.
Elise isn’t your typical little girl. She can see and speak to dead people whose souls are all around the creepy place she lives at with her mother (Tessa Ferrer, TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) and little brother Christian (Pierce Pope, (“Seven Days ‘Till Midnight”).
Elise’s “crazy talk” infuriates her drunken father Gerald (Josh Stewart, TV’s “Criminal Minds” and “Shooter”), so much that he tries to beat the “evil” out of her. These scenes are more frightening and disturbing than anything else in “The Last Key.”
Smartly, Elise runs away from the place leaving everyone behind. Flash forward to 2010 and Elise (Lin Shayne, “Killing Winston James”) is older and wiser. But Elise discovers she can’t escape her past after getting a late-night call from Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo, TV’s “Arrow”), the new owner of her old, family house. He’s found out about Elise and tells her about the evil spirits that are haunting him.
Elise and her ghost-busting sidekicks, Tucker (Angus Samspon, TV’s “Shut-Eye”) and Specs (Whannell) head out in a tricked-out RV to try and help the guy out. The bit of humor that Sampson and Whannell attempt to inject in “The Last Key” fails miserably too.
It becomes more difficult to really invest and care about any of these characters in “The Last Key” although Bruce Davison does give the film some spark
when he shows up as Elise’s older brother.
But having to wade through “Insidious: The Last Key’s” build up and particularly the less than satisfying ending is rather torturous.
I didn’t expect to start the new year out with a dud movie, but “Insidious: The Last Key” is the first disappointing movie of 2018.
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Take A Peek At This Trailer For "INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.