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Posted at: Jan 5, 2018, 7:28 PM; last updated: Jan 5, 2018, 7:28 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

Not scary enough

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Not scary enough
A still from Insidious: The Last Key

Johnson Thomas

This fourth instalment of hit franchise follows up on the third which largely focussed around Elise Rainer and her encounters with the paranormal. If you remember, the first two movies revolve around Josh Lambert and family. Digging deep into the back story of demonologist/parapsychologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye), who was murdered at the end of the first film, the narrative jumps timelines to fuel a comprehensive recollection of her encounters with the ghastly. 

Elise (Ava Kolker) as a young girl (1952) is living in two-storey house on the outskirts of a New Mexico prison where her stern abusive father (Josh Stewart) works as a prison guard. Since she is unable to deny her paranormal abilities her father locks her up and that’s when she first encounters the monster with keys for fingers – unknowingly letting him out into her own reality. 

That’s a forgotten chapter or so we believe but a much older Elise is called upon to rescue yet another house owner from ghostly terror – only this time she discovers it’s her own childhood home and her battle is with the ghost she unwittingly released as a child. 

This entity relies heavily on ‘The Further’ a terrifying space between life and death, on a realm that evil spirits trapped souls of the dead as well as those able to project themselves into that realm. Leigh Whannell who wrote all the Insidious chapters tries to mix it up with personal horror but the intention never comes good and it’s only when Elise projects herself to the other realm that the jump scares make you sit up and take notice. Nothing scary though and it’s too slow and long in the coming- and once it does it’s over all too soon. Earlier series director, James Wan used old-fashioned, imagined malevolence to spark fear in the audience; the director of this outing though, uses frequent jump cuts to make it stick. As in all genre flicks lacking mood, the narrative feels contrived and stagey. Elise’s   mitigating personal history gives it depth but it’s all too fudgy around the edges. The sudden appearance of figures in shadows is also too old a trick to work anymore.

Ultimately it’s Shaye, the septuagenarian actress, who holds the film together – her fearlessness and vulnerability forestalling the fiercest attacks and encouraging the audience to believe in her visceral experiences. 

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