Insidious is a horror franchise that hit out of nowhere way back in 2010 and now four films later it has cemented itself as one of my favourite horror franchises of all time as I’m still loving it and could honestly even do with another 3 more. Insidious: The Last Key is directed by Adam Robitel and is the fourth film to be released but the second film chronologically, sitting tightly in between the third and first chapters. This story places Lin Shaye‘s Elise front and centre and in order to overcome this new key-wielding demon she must venture into her old family home and face the horrors of her past with help once again from Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). As a fan of the franchise there is so much in here that I absolutely love; the scares are very effectively executed, there’s a terrifying atmosphere that never lets up, the characters are thoroughly entertaining, and the story itself does things and goes places that delve further into the mythology behind The Further (see what I did there?).
I want to kick off with the characters because they really are the heart and soul of this franchise, namely Elise, Specs, and Tucker who have appeared in all of the films so far. The three of them have such a great dynamic that it makes watching them interact so damn enjoyable. Seeing they’re relationship develop over the course of this franchise is just great and the little comedic moments they share in here give what could be a generic horror story some real personality. The subtle comedy from Whannell and Sampson could very easily feel out of place but their delivery is perfect and the moments are very effective. They really do feel like a tight-knit family and as long as they aren’t broken up I’ll continue to come back to this franchise. Lin Shaye’s Elise has become the face of the franchise so having her character be at the centre of this story is genius because people are going into the film with an already established emotional connection to the victim. The story delves deep into her past, what happened during her childhood, how her abilities have shaped her future, and why she shares a connection with this new demon. I loved this element of the story and it fleshes out this character even more than she already was. The new characters in here are also really good, specifically one played magnificently by Josh Thomas who as absolutely haunting in here.
The Insidious franchise undoubtedly has one of the most intriguing mythologies behind it in the form of a seemingly timeless realm between life and death known as The Further. Each film has delved deeper and deeper into this realm and that is no different here as you spend some more time in this realm and also learn more about exactly how it works and can affect the world of the living. The exploration of this mythology in here is fantastic and one element of the story I very much enjoyed. Being set very tightly between two films in the franchise there are moments in here that fantastically tie into the other stories in some very cool ways. The demon story in here isn’t revolutionary by any means and touches on a couple of familiar horror beats here and there but it’s the horror that makes this whole thing work so well. There is a very creepy and terrifying atmospheric tone in here and it almost never goes away, locking you in right off the bat and taking you right through to the end. There’s a brief crime thriller sequence at about the mid-way point and then a moment of downtime after it but it’s short lived and gets right back to the horror immediately. There actually aren’t many jump-scares in here, much of the horror tries to defy convention and it makes for an even more fun and haunting experience.
Again, like the third film it doesn’t quite reach the level of quality that James Wan managed to bring with the first two instalments but with Leigh Whannell still sticking on board as the screenwriter Wan’s creative vision is still present.
So, in the end the Insidious franchise continues to pump out strong instalments with this being no different. Judging by the subtitle of the film it could indicate that this will be the last entry but looking at the insanely successful box office run its had it’d be a major missed opportunity if the franchise isn’t continued with the holy trinity (Elise, Specs, Tucker) still being featured. For horror fans in general this is a great film to check out and for fans of the franchise it’s more of what you love so can’t go wrong.