Writer/directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell are responsible for creating two key horror franchises in the past decade: the Saw series, and the Insidious series. While the Saw series I could honestly watch endlessly, where every new installment I graciously look forward to, the Insidious series unfortunately goes the opposite way, along the likes of the Paranormal Activity series, in that I kind of wish it were to stop now before it really really overstays its welcome. It’s not that INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY is horrible. No, it’s actually not bad for a January release and there are some general frightening moments, it more than likely that for me all the tension is taken out of the film, due to the fact that it is a prequel and I know certain characters will make it out alive so when they are in danger I really don’t give a shit.
What is this trend that we are getting into with horror movies? We have one or two original films, the sequel taking place after the first one, but then we get into prequel territory (sometimes right away with installment 2) because the filmmakers think the audience will give them several pats on the back if they completely connect to the original film in the end. While it was cool for Ouija 2, then shrug worthy with Annabelle 2, it has now become groan inducing. We get it, “ohhhhhhhhhh this shit is so cool it literally picks up where the first one starts!!!” Ummmm….to quote myself, “who fucking cares?” I don’t like prequels in general. Prequels take all the fun out of everything because there are literally no stakes; with the plot or the characters, etc. We know what eventually happens to the characters. There is the one in ten film prequel journey that makes up for the lost tension, but it is very, very rare.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is one of those. Ouija 2 (but really a prequel) only worked because that it was so good it made the shitty first film look like Gigli. Annabelle kind of works because again, the first film was really shitty and the 2nd film is a minor improvement. Insidious The Last Key is not even close to an improvement over any of the previous films. In fact, after the first film, all the films deteriorate one after the other in terms of quality. Yes, we know that Lin Shaye is usually a good actress, and she was the highlight of the first movie and the only thing redeemable about #3, but in this one, to see her origin story, ehhhh…I didn’t really care. Her origin story is unfortunately relegated to the fact that her daddy is an abusive asshole and doesn’t believe in ghosts so he beats his daughter whenever she says she sees them or talks about her gift or whatever. Certainly writer Leigh Whannell could come up with something better than that.
The film does manage to come up with a couple of twists that I didn’t quite see coming although many of you probably could. And I did jump several times…although I am getting sick of that spirit villain that looks like the arch nemesis of the Powerpuff Girls. And another part of the movie I don’t like is that I just don’t care about The Further anymore. Although the Further came first, it is basically just a rich man’s Stranger Things’ Upside Down with rooms. And while the Upside Down in Stranger Things has established rules, it seems like anything can happen in The Further if it is a plot convenience to get the characters from point A to point B and then they think they are safe at point C. So to some up everything I’m saying in a nice little bow here, the movie is okay, not terrible, not great, I’m just sick of the prequel story nonsense, want a sequel and want more genuine scares.
I still do kind of like Lin Shaye’s sidekicks in the film, played by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell himself, they are given more to do here, but a lot of their jokes fall completely flat, their charm being the only thing that keeps them memorable. If they make a 5th movie, if the charm goes away, so does my affection for the characters. And the probably will make a 5th movie, seeing that this new one, in one weekend, made back 3 to 5 times it’s budget already. The only way I would care about a 5th movie, is if it is a sequel to part 2. I’m tired of the prequels. I know what Lin Shaye’s character can do, I now know how she started the Spectral Sightings business with her two sidekicks and now I know her origin story as a child. That is enough. Lin Shaye’s story is over, let’s go further into the dark side of The Further and bring about true nightmares again. We should all go by the wise recent words of Kylo Ren, “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Time to kill the prequels to Insidious and movie on to true sequels. Otherwise I will not longer go into The Further with the rest of you.
Rank of Insidious Movies:
- Insidious Chapter 2
- Insidious Chapter 3
- Insidious The Last Key
Timeline wise how to watch them:
Insidious Chapter 3
Insidious The Last Key
Insidious Chapter 2