Movie Review: Insidious: The Last Key

Probably never a good idea to work “Last” or “Final” into your movie title unless it is just that.

Like the third movie, this movie is a prequel to the original two movies. But aside from shared characters and a shared universe, it isn’t really a “sequel” in that traditional sense. The story isn’t being explored from the first two movies, aside from the odd nod here or there. Mostly that bit is done, and now we have the new bit.

And they introduced more places for those bits to go: I mean, we’ve always had the paranormal team out there: ready to hunt ghosts with or without their leader Lin Shaye. Now we also have her character’s nieces as potential future characters. Or we can hear more about some of the crazy going on in this house.

Or there’s stuff from the third movie.

I think one thing that is going on with these types of movies, and the movie next week will fit right in, is that my generation and the half-generation (people in their forties now) all grew up with a lot of stories that we wanted to add-on to: Star Wars and Star Trek both have pretty robust expanded universes, comic books often spread their wings with new characters and spin-offs, and we also had a lot of entertainment canceled mid-story on television (Firefly and Farscape fans, where you at?). We want to tell those stories or see someone else do it: hence the meteoric increase in fan fiction with the internet.

And now some of the people who grew up with this sort of expanded universe mindset are in charge of making movies, and so there’s so. much. room.

Not that this movie isn’t entertaining in its own right: it’s got the recipe down, and we can all sit around the spooky table for another helping of a series we have enjoyed. The idea of a horror franchise painting by the numbers might not sit well with a hoity-toity critic type, but these movies aren’t for those types. They’re red meat for those of us who want a good spooky tale spun.

The movie hits that. It’s a sequel, it’s not supposed to be drastically different. The story is new, there are new characters, a new ghoul, and a familiar setting. That’s intentional, just like a new season for a hit show: The Office would have been looked at askance if season three became a buddy cop drama. So if you like the Insidious movies, and you like the way Blumhouse does stuff, then this is the movie for you.

It’s got some good creepy red meat in there, it’s got some humor. It’s a decent build with a horrible backstory — good people don’t leave creepy ass ghosts behind — and I enjoyed the hell out of this movie, even if it isn’t perfect. Nothing is.

This was a solid movie, and I’m not the only one who feels this way: several articles across the ‘net out there say that this movie was a surprise success and ensured there will be more in the series. Good — because they’ve laid a lot of groundwork for expansion.

One more movie in this set — The Nun — and also next week I start the next set of movies. It’s a pretty exciting set of movies, a pretty good time to re-align the thirteen week sets so that I end the year with the end of the fourth series. The first summer blockbuster: Jaws. Because just in time for warmer weather we’re starting Shark Season.

Report Card:
Running Time: An hour forty three.
Acting: Decent.
Effects: Limited but I liked them.
Violence: A bit, yeah.
Gun Use: Nothing that stood out as offensively wrong.
Gore: No.
Creepy? A bit, yeah.
Monster Type? A demon and an asshole.
Funny? A little.
Nudity: None.
Pacing: Pretty good.