Insidious: The Last Key (2018) – Adam Robitel

The final (?) installment of the Insidious films brings us full circle. It takes place shortly after the events of the third film and ends leading us into the events of the first. Elise (Lin Shaye), Specs (Leigh Whannell), and Tucker (Angus Sampson) are all back delving into an investigation into Elise’s own past.

Whannell delivers another interesting script, one that has nods and tie-ins to everything we’ve seen before, but there’s a new director in the seat this time around. Coming off the creepy film The Taking of Deborah Logan, Robitel seems like the right guy for the job, but this one feels like it’s missing something.

The familiar and beloved characters are there, and there’s an arguably interesting story, one that brings Elise back to her hometown, and the house she grew up, wherein she learns the truth about the abuses that took place there, but none of them seem to be given their due attention.

Summoned back to the town of Five Keys, New Mexico, Elise and the boys meet Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) who pleads for their help. He’s willing to risk his own dark secrets for the release. But his secrets may tie directly back to Elise’s own childhood.

As the group investigates Elise attempts to reconnect with her brother, Christian (Bruce Davison), and her nieces, one of whom seems to share Elise’s talent. And that will be important when it’s time for the climax believe me.

There is some creep at work here, half glimpses of ghosts and beings, but far too often it feels the film falls back on jump scares, which at this point, is an expected part of the series, but feels overdone, and lacks freshness this time around.

Of course, Elise and others have to travel into The Further once again, but despite the fact that Elise is in there, the Bride in Black is noticeably missing.

There’s a solid story in here somewhere, perhaps if the story had taken its time a little more, explored all the corners of what the script hints at. And in all honesty, I love the trio of Specs, Elise, and Tucker, though this time around even they are missing some of the joy that they brought to earlier entries.

It just feels off, and incomplete in a way, and having Specs and Tucker hitting on Elise’s twenty-something nieces just feels creepy, and not in a scary movie way.

Over the past few weeks, exploring these films again (and watching this one for the first time) I realized that they are a lot of fun, Whannell and James Wan together are a great team, and honestly, one of them should have settled into the big chair for this one to bring the series to a more complete ending.

An extra half hour of character and plot work would make the film the longest in the series, but Elise, Specs, and Tucker are worth it, and I think people would have enjoyed a more engrossing, and scarier story.

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