Insidious 4 review: Final installment in this horror series is frightening in a satisfyingly creepy way

Mihir Fadnavis

Jan 05, 2018 12:21:44 IST


James Wan’s original Insidious is a classic for many reasons. Not only did it revitalize the horror genre, it also established a new kind of film-making where the ultimate experience was pure popcorn fun despite being made on a shoestring budget.

Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth film in the franchise, serves as a finale in the canon, although it would be foolish to assume that there won’t be any more sequels, considering the amount of money they make. The Last Key is a sequel to the 2015 prequel. We follow the demonologist Elise (Lin Shaye) who travels to her childhood home in New Mexico where there are reports of supernatural occurrences. The beats are familiar – our heroine calls Tucker (Angus Simpson) and Specs (Leigh Whannel) to team up with her to investigate whatever is happening in the house — and they find themselves sucked into The Further.

If you’re looking for an unsettling, giggle inducing fright fest full of jump scares, you can hardly go wrong with this film. It incorporates all the tried and tested formulae found in the previous three films, and all the horror tropes of the genre. The scares are also quite well executed, and the film is lit in a satisfyingly creepy way. If you’re a horror junkie, this is comfort food and you’ll find yourself quite at ease here.

 Insidious 4 review: Final installment in this horror series is frightening in a satisfyingly creepy way

A still from Insidious: The Last Key/Image from YouTube.

I’ve always found the Insidious movies more interesting than Wan’s Conjuring universe because of the elements of The Further, but it was a bit of a let down that we never learned anything about this netherworld. The Last Key attempts to dig further and explain a few unanswered questions, and largely succeeds. The film in fact works best when it doesn’t explain too much and gets on with the buildup of the scares. Not everyone will like the prolonged wait for the inevitable loud noise but that is the staple of this franchise – which works as a cinematic version of a walk through a house of horrors. The key to raising the hair at the back of your head is the spine chilling music by Joseph Bishara (who incidentally was the lipstick demon in the original film).

Shaye is once again very likable and you wonder why she isn’t in more films. Tucker and Specs are once again underutilized – they have so much potential they could star in a dark comedy spin-off. On the downside, this is the least interesting Insidious film, not only because we’ve seen everything that happens in the film three times before, but also because the main mystery in the film – a monster with keys as fingers — doesn’t have an epic enough reveal. It pales in comparison to the amazing unraveling of the spooky lady in the first two films who is ultimately revealed to be the ghost of a male killer. The interesting aspect, however, is Javier Botet (REC, Mama, Crimson Peak) who plays the central ghost and has now become the go to guy for playing spooks thanks to his Marfan Syndrome affliction. One hopes to see the legendary Doug Jones and Botet on screen together some day.

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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 12:21:44 IST