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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.

The Conjuring 2 Review (2016) | Constant Spine-Tingling Chills

Nerve-wracking! 2 hours of gut-wrenching horror packed with alarming scares! The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Case is a superb horror flick that we have been waiting for so long.

The Conjuring 2 Direction

James Wan’s affair with scare continues to give you eerie chills. He seems to have mastered the art of going “Boo!” at people. Five minutes glimpse into the life of Ed and Lorraine and it doesn’t feel like it’s been three years since the first one showed up. Your wounds find another gash and lo you are living a nightmare again.

The director uses spine-tingling motion to follow every still act, unlike conventional movies and ends up acing “every moment”. You feel as if you are living it. Rambling up and down the house, it feels like you are walking in the shoes of the protagonist of the frame. It creeps you out beyond limit to feel unpredictable terror. The fact that formidable moments aren’t placed at junctures where you might expect them, makes his horror stories one of a kind.

Incessant Horror

So, the unexpected happens, in every frame. So beautiful is its editing that you don’t really feel at any point the movie losing its winsome charm. One moment you are scampering to come out from a short heart-attack then boom! comes another. That’s how the terror is bestrewn all across The Enfield case.

The Conjuring 2 walks in with an extraordinary séance to drop off scare bombs one by one in a gorgeous fashion. The fact that its plot finds the light from a true story makes you question the veracity of it all. But hey! It’s a horror movie, and it succeeds in what it set out to achieve in the first place.

Patrick Wilson still stays as one of the most powerful actors with his thoughtful mien as he bides by his consumed acting prowess. He goes full-blown enchanting, well supported at all times by the ever so brilliant actress Vera Farmiga. They both complete each other in every sense.

To say The Conjuring 2 only had thrills would be an understatement. It is a perfect blend of everything, from thoughtful melodrama to unpredictable story twists, and an enthralling climax that will have you bite your nails spotless.

You can grab the original Blu-Ray DVD of The Conjuring 2 from here:

Spoilers of The Conjuring 2 Ahead

The part where Lorraine begs Ed to not venture without her is the most dramatic bit. Her constant apprehension to save him from harm’s way will have you feeling sorry for her. Also, you cannot overlook Janet Hodgson, played stunningly by Madison Wolfe. She is simply mind-blowing with her acting. There is so much drama lodged in her that she will rivet you from the moment you set eyes on her. One of the best parts is when Peggy opens up to Lorraine about how her life has drastically changed.

Ed and Lorraine’s appeasement in The Conjuring 2 will throw you in stark majestic awe. Both stay as the most noteworthy characters ever created. They have a chemistry that is outright unrivalled. Their immense love for each other, the way they try to console the afflicted, their staying over acts to see to it that others are comfortable around, and their intense care for affected families will leave you wondering how beautiful their souls must be in reality.

The Conjuring 2 is a definite go-go if you need something thrilling…er supernatural to topple you down from your seats.

Check out the trailer of The Conjuring 2 movie:

Before I Wake Review (2016) | Delve into Mike Flanagan’s Beautiful Head

A beautiful fantastical whimsy! Before I Wake movie carries a gorgeous concept that could have moulded it into a better flick if it were not for its flaws. Even so, what certainly can’t be ruled out is Before I Wake movie’s amazing theme that brings us closer to the astounding power of imagination.

Mike Flanagan’s yet another horror venture packs in a fanciful story that has been beautifully cultivated, if you pay attention to its profound concept. Dreams coming alive! How great is that? A fancy world something only a powerful mind could create. But the big question is how does it all pack in its fictitious capsule, and whether or not it is worth it.

Adorable Jacob Tremblay

Jacob Tremblay is everywhere. His cuteness is a delight to watch. He walks in with a confident mien to deliver extraordinary cutesy bits that are both enthralling and adorable just like he happens to be in person. At the end of the day, he is delivering. So who is complaining?

still of jacob tremblay reading a diary in before i wake movie

The Plot of Before I Wake Movie (Spoilers Ahead)

To begin with the main story of Before I Wake movie, I am assuming everyone is well aware of Cody’s uncanny imagination that brings everything he dreams to life. For the good things, he is mostly dreaming butterflies and stuff. He is easily able to manifest living holograms (except that they turn real) of his dream. Whatever thoughts he has been fed before he goes to sleep comes brimming alive too. However, like any other dream, he doesn’t have much control over his thoughts. There is this ghastly element in the story that Cody calls the Cankerman that comes at unseen junctures. It often messes his dreams up, and since the horrifying element becomes a walking live projection too, it can mess with our world.

  • Jessie’s Instant Obsession

Jessie becomes obsessed with the powers of Cody and tries to bring her dead son Sean alive. But she isn’t aware of the Canker Man just yet. When she does meet it at one point, in a theatrical series of events, unfortunately, Mark ends up paying the price. Mark is swallowed in by the Cankerman, right in front of her, as she passes out. Waking up she finds Cody being taken in by Child Protective Services once again. She is not allowed to meet him, so she steals Cody’s file in hopes to locate him.  It is then she meets Whelan Young, the first foster parent of Cody who has ended up in a mental hospital.

  • First Foster Parents

Whelan tells her about his havocking past, a similar story of Canker Man taking his wife away. And no matter what he did afterwards to bring her back to life, by showing Cody pictures of her, he could only manage to bring her impressions back. It is sorry to see him break down trying to reason:

He was too young. He was too young to even remember her right.

still of dash mihok as whelan holding her invisible wife in his hands

Whelan then suggests something horrible to her, killing Cody to stop his unrestrained killing. She turns him down immediately, and then leaves. She tries to find more about Cody’s real mother to figure out what could be the reason of Cody’s nightmares.

  • Tracking Down Cody’s Mother

Meanwhile, Cody has been kept along with other children in a foster home. He isn’t deliberately going to sleep as he doesn’t wish anybody harm. So thoughtful a child! Natalie forces an injection of drowsiness on him to get him to sleep.

Jessie is able to get her hands on Cody’s mother’s stuff. There she finds a blue butterfly rag that expounds about his butterfly dreams. She also finds her journal where she finds out more about their relationship. Jessie cleverly finds out about the facility where Cody was held captive and reaches there only to realize that Cody was asleep. (People were held captive in cocoons kind of things, so that gave away!)

  • Explaining Projections in the Foster Home

As she makes her way further in, she finds elements of Cody’s dreams widespread. There is one rare moment of Jessie’s thoughts that could have projected owing to the fact that she might have shared the dying of Sean incident with Cody. She finds the bathtub wherein Sean had drowned. The presentation there is quite spooky. She moves away knowing it was just a mere projection, and that she is supposed to help Cody.

Amongst other projections, she finds Cody in a room watching Sean drown on TV. She finds her own eyeless projection reaching out for him, and then twisting its head trying to deform Cody into looking like herself. A scene like that could have multiple meanings. I like to take away that to Cody, Jessie’s image was that of a selfish blind woman who was trying to manipulate his dreams into seeing what she wished to see. Thus blinding him from his original vision.  However, if there wasn’t a metaphor there, then I would say that character act doesn’t kind of fit there properly. And it could be deliberately put for mere theatrics. We do get a glimpse of an eyeless Mark again, which could be how Cody must have imagined him after his death which falls in place too.

  • The Final Showdown | Before I Wake Ending Explained

Moving on she reaches the door behind which Cody was fast asleep. That’s where she encounters the Canker Man again. Just when it was about to consume her, she shows her the Blue Butterfly Toy Rag that Cody was so fond of as a kid.

Still of Canker Man from Before I Wake movie final scene

Now this reasoning kind of baffles you. You see the Canker Man was nothing but a projection of Cody. Its discernment of the Blue Butterfly could be only if Cody could see whatever Canker Man could. So all those wild acts that he did of killing people shouldn’t have actually happened if Cody had control over it.

  • Why the Canker Man had a Change of Heart?

With the appearance of a sharper memory like that of a Blue Butterfly from the past, Cody became confused, and that unpleasant nightmarish memory became a pleasant one, meaning Canker Man was defeated. However, this doesn’t mean Canker Man was killed for sure. Because there was no reasoning gavel put on him just yet. Also, I am pretty sure had Cody slept again right after that, even the Blue Butterfly wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Cankerman again.

We see Jessie hugging the Cankerman which was a pretty lame thing to do. Anyone would have freaked out, but I guess since she realized it was nothing but Cody’s memory, Jessie wished to bring the warmth of the past to him, and bestow upon him some motherly love. We see that horrifying projection change back to Cody and then disappear.

Canker Man in Before I Wake

  • Aftermath

Aftermath culminating moments of Before I Wake, we find Jessie telling Cody about her mother. She gives him her journal to read and tells her what Cankerman really was. It was a surreal impression of his, about her mother Andrea Morgan when she was on her death bed. She was suffering from Cancer, and when she died Cody had himself believe that Cancer ate her mother. Which then as he grew up personified into an unpleasant idea of a man called Canker Man who went about killing people. It is a beautifully thought of revelation that is quite gratifying if you look at it.

In the end part of Before I Wake, whilst trying to tuck Cody in, Jessie tries to create a happy ending for all those people that were ensnared by Cody. She wishes everything undone,  but her thoughts are broken when Cody asks:

“Can those things happen?”

With all those crisp images of possibilities, you begin thinking if the dead are really coming back alive. But you realize that she was just putting out things for Cody to see. She believes in him that with time he could do wonderful things and that it is possible.

“You have an amazing gift. Who knows what can happen as it grows?”

Mike Flanagan in the end tries to justify what she said by going for a cheap shot. He shows Cody actually trying to create something from his mere thoughts, just by closing his eyes. I would say to that: “Too soon Mike! Too soon!”

You can order Before I Wake Movie from here:

Downsides to Before I Wake Movie

Before I Wake takes off beautifully right from the start. However there are elements that gnaw at it gradually stopping it from reaching a charming gleam.

The first one, I am afraid, is none other than Kate Bosworth’s character Jessie. To be really candid, we could have used a better cast here. Even though a tad distant, which was needed for her character, she appeared kind of absent emotionally, for parts where it mattered the most. Thomas Jane, au contraire, fits the bill just fine as Mark.

straight from a movie before i wake butterfly

The second crucial part of the flick was its tangibility. Even though we were wading deep into imaginary waters, you need something natural to give it a palpable feel. It is the natural things that surround it that help a flick get carved in a realistic format, something the movie lacked profusely. You are often forced to wonder, “Why is she not calling the police?” or “Why is she going there?” or “Where is everybody?” I don’t know why but the latter one seems to be a factor that every horror movie overlooks.

When you look at the scary quotient of the movie, it amasses plenty. There are many horrifying bits that are outright chilling. However, if you are trying to look at it as just a horror flick, then don’t. There is nothing here that will continue to haunt you for days. I surmise it could also be because the movie doesn’t cash in on horror properly, and you could blame the surreal concept that it induces.

The screenplay has nothing remarkable to offer. Good scary movies consider this factor well, so it was a big downer there. Music is good actually. Danny Elfman and The Newton Brothers are the people behind Before I Wake’s score.

Other Things That Might Vex You

It is only after Before I wake reaches midway that it actually starts to dwindle. You find Jessie actually reaching out for shriveled dark enclaves fearlessly which makes you question how fearless she really is. You would have wimped out from that dreary situation or maybe called the police first, and maybe made it a universal thing for everybody to see.

For some, I would say the final revelation might not have tingled their brains. It is because there was no reasoning to follow it up immediately. I am sure some must be wondering how an imaginative nightmarish creation could be stopped by a sheer memory glimpse. Throws you into a thoughtful territory for a second, which is actually quite good for your head. At least you are thinking!

The Final Verdict

Despite all its flaws, I would like to remember Before I Wake Movie as what it truly is. A great concept that tries to take a terrific shot at imagination. Unfortunately, it steers toward a clouded zone owing to its direction, and some dubious questions that it leaves you with towards the end.

Check out the trailer of Before I Wake movie: