Insidious: The Last Key

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY,   US, 2018, Starring Lin Shaye, Lee Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, Spencer Locke, Bruce Davison, Javier Botet. Directed by Adam Robital.  103 minutes. Rated M (supernatural themes, violence and infrequent coarse language).

It is not necessary to trust the word ‘last’ in this film’s title. Since 2010, there have been four Insidious films and, depending on success (which does usually come with each episode), there could well be another sequel.

Clearly, this is a film for those who have enjoyed the other demonic stories and fears in the franchise. Someone coming across this episode without the previous three may well be wondering what is going on and why.

Lin Shaye as Elise Rainier has been a staple presence in the films. She is a Parapsychologist, ready to confront any demon that might tear to come her way. She is also available for casting out demons, though she has been relying in some of the previous films on two associates, Spectral Sightings, who are able to detect some demonic presence (although Elise is certainly an expert) but they are able to help with any of the physical demands. They also contribute some comic touches – which, it seems, some of the fans deemed inappropriate, even corny, for such serious enterprises. They are played by two Australians, comedian Angus Sampson, and the author of the series (as well as becoming famous with the Saw series), Lee Whannell. 

This episode begins with a nightmare – but it also offers the opportunity for the audience to get to know something of Elise and her background, New Mexico, 1953, where she lives with her parents and her younger brother, Christian. Her father, a policeman, is a brute, physically harmful to his daughter, oppressive to his wife, not believing at all in his daughter’s psychic powers and her ability to detect the presence of evil spirits. She leaves home, leaving her younger brother behind.

When Elise wakes up from a nightmare, it is 2010 and she has established a reputation for confronting spirits. She receives a request – and her interest and fear, as well as those of the audience, are excited because the caller is living in her old family home. She and her Spectral Sightings friends go on the road.

When Elise goes into the house, evoking severe memories, it becomes very eerie and sinister, especially the darker it becomes and she goes down into the cellar. There she discovers a young woman in captivity. In the meantime, her estranged brother, Christian (Bruce Davison), himself the father of two daughters, one of whom has the family capacity for parapsychology, come to the house where one of the daughters is captured.

In this other world of spirits, there is, of course, a frightening character, called all in the film’s credits, Keyface (who can gouge out key holes on victims’ bodies), and Elise offering to sacrifice herself for her niece. The two Spectral associates have to participate in all the sinister goings-on.

At this stage of her life, Elise is an expert, having saved many people, but also detached enough to offer herself. But, she is rewarded by reconciliation with the brother about whom she feels guilty because of abandoning him. It is nice for her to have a family, to have her Spectral associates, and have a happy ending to the serious if this is where the franchise is to finish.


Released February 1st.

Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.

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