"Insidious: The Last Key" Phones In the PG-13 Scares

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Lin Shaye reprises her role as paranormal expert Elise Rainer in this fourth installment of the inconsistent Insidious franchise, in which a phone call requesting help brings Elise back to her haunted childhood home, where she spends the rest of the film stumbling around in the dark with her two empty-headed sidekicks uncovering predictable mysteries surrounding her father and a ghost with keys-for-hands.

To the films credit, it establishes a fairly interesting backstory for the Elise Rainer character, portraying her early childhood as she begins to comprehend the extent of her psychic powers. Her mother's acceptance of her power, in stark contrast to her father's fear of it is particularly interesting. We see Elise's mother tell her to keep quiet about her powers in order to not upset her father, and when Elise refuses to do so, her father eventually snaps, resulting in one of the films more effective sequences.

This may be somewhat of a spoiler, but as the film progresses and discoveries inside of the house are made, I couldn't help but compare them to that of 2016's Don't Breathe, a thrilling, much better film about a home robbery. This comparison simply doesn't help "Insidious: The Last Key", as it does not offer up anything new or remotely interesting. What we get instead is yet another forced Insidious rescue mission, an awkward video-game-like boss-fight sequence, and completely unearned and out of place romance. Some of these issues could be forgiven if the imagery or scares were remotely effective, but the film mostly relies on loud noises and petty jump scares, which don't offer up enough to keep this thing interesting.

Despite terrific efforts on behalf of Lin Shaye, the film's script simply cannot sustain its attempt at providing something meaningful by the end of its hour and forty minute runtime. The characters are fairly one-note, the scares are few and far between, and the result is a messy, disappointing addition to the franchise that simply won't end.