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Category: 2018

The Commuter Movie Review (2018) | Finding Prynne

The Commuter movie is a fast-paced thriller that somehow runs on similar rails of Murder on the Orient Express sans the visuals of course. I know it would be wrong to compare the two, that they are set in a whole different universe, the similarity might amuse you.

What kind of person are you?

The Commuter movie brings home real tension that Liam Neeson perfects once again working on the lines of all his previous action ventures like Unknown, Run All Night and Non-Stop. Hold that thought! It is the same director.  Jaume Collet-Serra is known for making movies that stars Liam in his action avatar. If he hasn’t milked him enough, I don’t know who has.

The Commuter Movie Plot (Spoilers)

Even though The Commuter movie carries a questionably built plot, it goes on to feel better as it unspools. The flick kicks off with an ex-police officer, Michael McCauley (Liam Neeson) commuting in a series of frames to his daily life as a life insurance salesman. One day he is fired from his job, and the whole world comes crashing down on him as he sits in a bar with his friend Murphy (Patrick Wilson) confiding in him how life is fickle.

On his way back home, his mobile gets stolen. Entry Joanna (Vera Farmiga) (team Conjuring…Yay!) who cracks a conversation with him. Hypothetically proposing a situation:

What if I asked you to do one little thing?

Her terms being it would affect only one individual on the train, in turn, offering the needy Michael insane amount of money.

Someone on this train does not belong, all you have to do is find them.

In an age where it is hard to afford a reliable detective, bumping into Liam Neeson seems like a much cheaper alternative.

Liam Neeson handling wads of cash in The Commuter

Finding Prynne

As per Joanna, the mission is to find a person called “Prynne” who doesn’t belong and plant a bug tracker on him/her before he/she gets off at Cold Springs stop. Michael ends up finding the bag realizing her terms weren’t hypothetical after all.

When he tries to get off, he is stopped by a girl who hands him an envelope with his wife’s wedding ring.

If you haven’t already figured it out, they are watching you.

Michael asks one of the regular commuters Walt (Jonathan Banks) for help by writing it in a newspaper. Joanna already knows. (How?) She gets Walt killed.

Finding a man suspicious, he tags him with the tracker after getting into a fight with him.

Michael calls Murphy to ask him about Prynne. He is told that Prynne is a key witness to a suicide case of Enrique Mendez. Figuring out that Joanna is after Prynne because she wishes to kill him, Michael restarts his search. But he finds the same man he had tagged dead inside the train. He figures that the dead man wasn’t Prynne but an FBI agent who was killed because he had tagged him.

Who is Prynne in The Commuter Movie

Michael shuts down the AC forcing everyone into the same compartment. There he speaks loudly proposing the same hypothetical case that Joanna had presented him with. A man leaves the compartment making Michael smell something fishy. In an attempt to find out if he was Prynne, he follows him. He realizes that the man wasn’t Prynne but an assassin named Oliver hired to kill Prynne. Oliver (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) demands Michael to tell him who Prynne is. But he refuses and a scuffle breaks loose as Michael throws the assassin out of the window.

Later in the compartment, Prynne is revealed to be a girl called Sofia. She had a flash drive with information that would have affected some really powerful people, and was going to witness protection at the final stop (Cold Springs) of the train. On being asked why she did not go to the police, Sofia said that it was the police who had killed Enrique. She had heard the killer say:

You tried to do the noble thing, but there’s no such thing as noble.

The Final Showdown

Joanna calls Michael once again threatening to kill his family if he doesn’t kill Prynne. Michael refuses. Overtaken by madness Joanna derails the train. Bad CGI btw. The train looks like a toy when that happens.

Michael unhooks the final car from the train saving all the passengers. However, Michael warns them from getting out that their lives were still at risk. He asks them to stick newspapers on the windows.

Patrick Wilson in The Commuter movie

Captain Hawthorne (Sam Neill) approaches with his cavalry convinced that Michael has gone rogue and is holding the passengers as hostages inside the compartment. Murphy is sent as a negotiator. There he uses the same ‘noble’ phrase making them figure out Murphy to be Enrique’s killer.

Murphy asks Prynne to step out but everyone starts to claim themselves as Prynne. He shoots a random guy when Michael engages in a fist to fist combat with him. He then removes the police tracker from Murphy making the Police Sniper consider Michael as friendly. Murphy is shot.

Outside Michael meets his family as Sofia tells the police what she knows. Hawthorne tells Michael that he misses him on the force.

In a sort of an epilogue, we see Joanna commuting in a train when Michael shows up in a similar manner. She defies him saying what’s going to happen when Michael shows her his police badge.

Just one little thing.

the commuter movie scene liam neeson and vera farmiga

Issues with the Flick

Vera Farmiga feels like the devil, somehow knowing everything upfront with little plausible explanations.

The VFX department in The Commuter movie suffers too during the final moments when the train derails. Even though it’s something manageable and you can overlook it, the plot goes on and on. It is in those final moments that it tries to tell its story. Well, somehow I am still convinced that we could have used some of the important bits surrounding the climax in the prologue itself. For instance, the audience really doesn’t care who Enrique is. So a frame to show what had happened would have been good in the beginning.

Liam Neeson does a great job as a confused and helpless Michael. Both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson are amazing at their bits. You see the climax coming from far away, although it boils down to words and only words. If you don’t theatricalize it, people often lose interest.

The Final Verdict

The Commuter movie is a good thrilling entertainer. It will keep you on your toes as you keep guessing. It isn’t, of course, on the levels of extraordinaire but it still manages to tell a tale by keeping things under wrap. I still think it could have been made better. Can be watched.

Insidious The Last Key Review (2018) | Is the Franchise Losing its Mojo?

Another mediocre horror movie in the Insidious franchise. Insidious The Last Key felt as if I picked up a book based on its cover and its age-old legacy and ended up feeling not so good. Dejected, primarily, because it was bland, not properly directed and somehow felt further away from the Further.

I miss what Insidious used to be. It has been reduced to nothing but a comic adventure now that capers with Elise Rainier‘s character always bolstered by her sidekicks Specs and Tucker. Earlier, at least, there used to be that element of surprise forcing us to nibble our nails, constantly worried about the lead characters. Now it’s replaced by that surety that nothing bad is going to happen to the franchise’s successfully running trio.

Overlook that fact and you will still find Insidious The Last Key not up to the mark. Not only has its horror quotient degraded immensely but it has also become less appealing visually. Ghosts no longer scare you, and the element of surprise prepares you upfront. That are just among some of the apparent issues Insidious The Last Key has.

Contradicting all of it is Insidious The Last Key’s plot which is actually good. I guess maybe it needed a better director than Adam Robitel. Whatever issues it had, as long as Leigh Whannell has stories to tell, the Insidious franchise will keep on milking its concept of the “Further”. That’s how it is I suppose. Maybe it’s high time he found a director who could really make its horror appeal better.

Plot of Insidious The Last Key (Spoilers)

To start with, we are taken back to 1953, in New Mexico, where we witness a young Elise Rainier being punished for her ability to see ghosts by her father Gerald (Josh Stewart), who was an executioner in a nearby prison. Elise claimed she saw ghosts of the prisoners who were executed in the electric chair. Furious by Elise’s claims Gerald locks her up in the basement despite what her mother Audrey has to say. There she hears a voice summoning her to a door which she unlocks releasing a demon named Key Face. It possesses Elise and kills her mother who comes to help.

In the present world, Elise (Lin Shaye) is contacted by someone called Ted Garza (Kirk Acevedo) trying to hire her for paranormal investigation. It is revealed that it’s the same house that she used to live in growing up. Reluctant at first, she accepts asking her crew Spec (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker(Angus Sampson) not to come but they come anyway.

Insidious chapter 4 key face

In Nex Mexico

The trio who have now officially branded themselves as Spectral Sightings end up at Garza’s house or Elise’s old house. Trying to investigate it she comes across a whistle which belonged to her younger brother Christian lost in 1953. There she is attacked by a ghost who takes her whistle away.

Help me!

She remembers seeing that same ghost from her past in their laundry room when she was a teenager. Gerald had claimed then that he hadn’t seen her. Scared that she would be once again beaten for her abilities, Elise had decided to leave her father and Christian behind.

The next morning the trio stop at a diner where they run into Christian, and his two daughters Melissa (Spencer Locke) and Imogen (Caitlin Gerard). Christian still taken up by the pain of abandonment refuses to talk to Elise, and storms out. However, Elise manages to pass a photo of the lost whistle into the hand of one of her daughters for their father to see in hopes to repair the damage.

The Whistle Calls

The same night they hear the whistle blow. As Elise and Tucker follow the sound they end up behind a secret door in the wall. There they discover a girl with a chain around her neck. Garza shows up locking them all in, and then goes for Specs. Specs outwits him smashing him underneath a bookcase. The police take Elise in for interrogation.

Whilst interrogation Elise gets an inkling that something bad is going to happen when she witnesses Melissa’s ghost for a split second. At the house, Elise, Imogen, and Christian are trying to find the whistle when Melissa ends up being lured into the basement.

In comes, Key Face who attacks her when she is all alone. The demon’s fingers are shaped like keys which he pricks inside her flesh.

  • The first key takes away her voice.
  • The second key takes away her soul putting Melissa in a coma.

Elise and Christian arrive to find her in the basement, but Christian asks her to stay away from her.

insidious the last key basement scene

The Further

Convinced to help Melissa, Imogen stays with them, who confides in Elise saying she could astral project too. The same night Elise and Tucker start looking for the ghost to enter the red door in order to venture into The Further while Specs and Imogen look for the Bible that Garza held dear.

What? I get the death chamber and he gets bible camp with the most beautiful girl on earth? That’s not a democracy.

Prodding into the basement, Elise encounters a nightgown in the exhaust vent, of the same ghost. She finds out her name to be Anna. We see a flashback, where it is revealed that her father Gerald had held Anna captive in the basement just like Garza, and that at that time when Elise had claimed seeing a ghost in the laundry room, Anna was alive and deliberately overlooked by Gerald. Gerald had later killed her.

Soon Elise runs into more boxes of belongings of all the girls that were held captive all these years. The resemblance of the acts of the horrible men who had lived in that house insinuate at yet another ghostly activity that we are yet to put a pin to. Just a thought!

Just then Key Face shows up taking Elise’s soul into the Further. In the real world Spec, Tucker and Imogen are left with no one to guide them. Imogen steps up to help with her ability to visit the Further. She ventures into the Further guided by Anna’s ghost to a prison where souls of Melissa, Gerald, and Elise are held captive by the Key Face.

The Final Ending of Insidious The Last Key Explained

The reason Key Face has been so powerful is because he had been feeding on the hatred produced by this despicable act of kidnapping women in the basements. Men like Gerald and Garza are in the wrong, on the receiving end, and are being punished by all the souls who wish to right the wrong. As a result Key Face is becoming powerful. There is this immense hate in the atmosphere that’s making the demon strong.

When the demon offers Elise a chance to get back at her father, Elise refuses to hit him, thus seeing through the Key Face’s ploy. An angry Key Face attacks Elise but is stopped by her father Gerald who is stabbed. Killing in The Further means vanishing forever so Gerald disappears. Imogen ends up being no help as she is captured alongside Melissa by Key Face and fettered.

Melissa is stabbed which causes her body in the real world to start dying. The demon attacks Elise using the first key on his finger to silence her. To fuel the metaphor, Imogen flings the whistle at Elise which she then uses thus finding a voice of bravery in fear.

insidious the last key inside the red door

The whistle has a huge import in the tale since it was given to Christian (and Elise) by their mother Audrey (Tessa Ferrer) to be used whenever they were afraid, that Audrey would show up to help. That’s what happens in the Further too with that figment of imagination and hope moulding itself into a form, summoning Audrey’s ghost for help. Audrey defeats the Key Face and the mother-daughter reunite. Elise asks for forgiveness but realizes Audrey has already forgiven her.

Realizing Melissa’s body still dying all of them head out quickly in the nick of time to save Melissa. Elise is forgiven by Christian when she delivers him the whistle.

Dalton

In the flick’s final moments we see Elise being stirred up awake by an image of Dalton and the Lipstick Demon. It should be noted that she had already seen Dalton once in the Further in a room (with the ladder). She knows that trouble looms over him. Just then she receives a call from Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) explaining that Elise had seen Dalton some years ago, and those same symptoms had returned. Elise agrees to meet them in the morning thus setting up the events of the First Chapter.

You can order Insidious The Last Key from here:

The Final Verdict

Insidious The Last Key had plenty of issues, no doubt about that. But it scores well on the plot card. That’s its only strength. It doesn’t have enough chills to give you goosebumps. Adam Robitel underperforms especially at the moment where it all mattered the most – the final showdown. It felt rushed, and unexplained, and above all not at all scary.

Editing and Screenplay seemed impoverished as well. Whatever humor Spec and Tucker brought to the table, seemed deliberate and so not funny. The music seemed to be absent on a lot of occasions where we could have really used it.

I guess we need to find a good director to revamp the series, throw in some extra chills bringing everything to the level of The Conjuring. If not then it would be really sad to see it slowly pass away to a place from where there is no return.