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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.