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Insidious: The Last Key  : Ineptly Messy
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Friday, January 5, 2018
Adam Robitel
Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Ted Garza, Caitlin Gerard, Imogen Rainier, Spencer Locke, Melissa Rainier, Josh Stewart

Sequels and prequels keep a fright-franchise going. But after a neat set of initial shivers, The Last Key opens only a mish-mash.


Director Adam Robitel employs all the tropes including a foreboding background score and a dark, clammy house that lies in the shadow of a penitentiary. A bedroom scene with two kids and another in the basement promise scares and jumps with a harsh father who metes out corporal punishment to his little daughter Elise. Elise is gifted, or cursed, as spirits good and bad come out of hiding in her presence. The icy feeling is well crafted as long as it centres around siblings Elise and her kid brother Christian. It lingers until an ageing Elise is introduced as a helpful parapsychologist with two young associates Specs and Tucker. A phone call, a revisit to the house which left her with scars and not memories, is creepy for a short while. Battling demons of the past and present makes the trio’s latest assignment curious and personal. But that pit-in-the-stomach feeling doesn’t last long enough.  


Writer LeighWhannell packs in the paranormal and demons in human form,then goes metaphysical, and finally ties it all up with feeble family ties. Moving in and out of planes, Robitel and crew end up doing justice to none of it.


A weak attempt at humour is made with Elise’s associates ogling her young nieces or cracking silly lines like, “She’s psychic, we’re sidekicks.” At this juncture, the tautness, the tension and general creepiness begin to evaporate.


When a scary film stops startling and the nerves settle down, it’s a sign that this isn’t going well. The father trying to beat the gift out of Elise was a great start. But even as Robitel tries hard to keep the frights coming, he meanders and finally doesn’t reach anywhere that’s as good as the beginning.


It’s ageing actor Lin Shaye’s show all the way as Elise. The only flaw is that it isn’t much of a show.


For a film that giveslittle value-addition to the franchise, Insidious: The Last Key gets a 2* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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