Sunday 29 April 2018

Insidious: The Last Key ☆☆☆☆☆

Another year, another Insidious. In the current cinema climate, it seems nobody can make a horror film without Hollywood seeing franchise potential and milking the film’s udders until they’re raw. It’s been happening since the good old days of Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and Chucky – but now almost every single well-received original horror film is the beginning of a franchise that steadily decreases in quality until it becomes unbearable. It’s hard to believe that the first Insidious film was released a whole 8 years ago, and we’re still having the films stuffed down our throats. The Last Key, the fourth and hopefully final film in the saga, is what we’re going to talk about today.

You all know the story. We follow a paranormal investigator who must deal with spooky spectres and bland character development. Elise Rainier, who has thus far appeared in all entries in the saga, receives a phone call from a man who claims that his house is haunted. Even more disturbing is the address, which we learn to be the home where Elise grew up as a child. Accompanied by her two investigative partners, Rainier travels to her old home to confront and destroy her greatest fear -- the demon that she accidentally set free years earlier. If you’ve seen any supernatural horror film ever, you’ve seen this. While franchise star Lin Shaye is on top form – and it’s so refreshing to have a horror heroine who isn’t a young blonde running around in a tight vest – there really isn’t anything to recommend about The Last Key.

I interrupt this interview to bring you some sad news. Due to the overwhelming box office success of The Last Key, a fifth Insidious film is in development. Thanks a lot, cinema goers. You’ve brought this on yourself. Consider the budget of an Insidious film. The Last Key, for example, cost $10 million. Think of all the ways that could’ve been put into combatting hunger or disease. Instead, it is spent on 103 minutes of tripe. That’s roughly $97 grand a minute….

Anyway, back to The Last Key itself. It really saddens me that these generic horror films are still made so frequently when the genre has recently delivered such richly inspired and original fares like Get Out and A Quiet Place. This is all jump scares and ghosts with seemingly no motivation being nasty bastards and haunting our heroes. A horror film of this nature lives or dies on the strength of the atmosphere and the scares. But when the atmosphere is almost non-existent, and we’re left only with jump after jump, there is no fear in our hearts. Anyone can sneak up on an unsuspecting bystander and crash cymbals behind their head and make them shit themselves, but is there really any cold, hard fear there?

Insidious: The Last Key is tantamount to that. There’s no fright here. Just jumps. Brent McKnight of the Seattle Times said it best - “horror franchises don't die, they unspool tepid, uninspired sequels in perpetuity”. Amen to that, Brent. The Last Key has absolutely nothing to offer to the genre or even the bland franchise in which it exists. If you’ve seen the first 3 films and inexplicably are hungry for more, then go for it. But if you’re a self-respecting horror fan, steer clear. This is just another insult to horror’s rich history that doesn’t deserve to be uttered in the same breath as a John Carpenter or Wes Craven creation. Avoid. Insidious: The Last Key may not be the end of this tired franchise, but hopefully it is the beginning of the end. 

Sam Love

Insidious at CeX

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