The latest and hopefully final installment of the franchise, Insidious 4: The Last Key presents some thrills and the explanations you really didn’t want.
Newcomer to the series, director Adam Robitel obviously had a large task at hand to gracefully end the extremely popular series with both his vision and the original style of James Wan in mind. In a general sense, he did alright. He made good use of the night vision camera to produce genuine suspense, and kept the pacing on track. There was some semblance to the creepy essence that makes up Insidious. However, it wasn’t engaging as a whole, and the last act fell flat.
An obscene amount of comedy was written into the script. It did not work. The genius behind the characters Specs and Tucker was that they were unintentionally funny in the first film. With The Last Key, they tried to make the characters comedians and they are anything but. Their charm comes from their shyness, not their puns. The film was centered on Elise’s backstory (Lin Shaye) and how she became the bad ass parapsychologist audiences met in Insidious. It wasn’t a necessary story to focus on but it was written in order to tie into that first film. The connection wasn’t achieved 100% smoothly and you’ll easily see how. Certain things that felt silly to overlook or could have been remedied went untouched. The plot tried a couple of times to throw twists and they weren’t properly revealed to get the best reaction. There were also “filler” characters that could have been axed.
There was a lot of word vomit exchanged between the characters and at times, scenes felt like “Hallmark Moments.” There’s nothing wrong with finding light in dark times, but don’t write dialogue that sounds like a chapter out of self-help book.
The second half sadly turned into a creature feature, something the trailer threatened very early on. Another irritant involving the trailer, featuring model Melanie Gaydos. Where was she? Did I watch a different version? What was her role? So many questions.
My recommendation would be to watch the first half with baited breath, and keep in mind that it will not end with a bang. If you’re a casual fan, this isn’t much of an addition to the first two films.