Insidious: The Last Key is the closest I’ve come recently to those memories of my teenage years, and watching USA Up All Night with Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear. So many horror movies were neutered and shoddily cut to fit in the timeframe of the show, but in the end it still worked on a stupid fun level. With that description I present to you The Last Key.
There were just enough scares and dumb dialogue that it’s tough to get mad at the film, and just enjoy the awkward rollercoaster ride; this film has no aspirations. Go out with your friends, have a few drinks and enjoy this marginally funny, scary experience.
The director of the film, Adam Robitel did get me though, a few times. I knew a scare was coming and he delayed it, built it up, and then made me squeal like an eight-year-old. The other movie critics just laughed at me.
How I Would Have Fixed The Film
Including the budget of The Last Key, Blumhouse has made $350 million on the previous three films. First, let’s bump up this budget from $10 million to $20 million. The film started off in 1953, and should have remained there, where the story flourishes. The extra money would have been used for sets and costumes to give the film a gritty, dust bowl feel.
Secondly, none of the original cast would have been in the movie. Lin Shaye is the only one who could have shown up at the end as a cameo to tie the film to the rest of the franchise. Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson should stop acting after The Last Key, which is sad because Sampson was remarkable in season two of Fargo. Whannell gets a token role because he wrote the film. He even writes that he gets the hot girl too! The Blumhouse Human Resources department might want to have a conversation with him.
Thirdly, write a plot and a kick-ass origin for the demon coming after Elise Rainier. There are elements of a good film in The Last Key, but they get bulldozed over by dumb un-original writing. Give the audience answers and an origin to the demon with keys. A great villain can carry an average hero. Focus on the demon.
Elise’s original house was on the same property as a prison that was executing prisoners, yet we never went into the prison. Elise as a child would talk with the recently executed as they passed over from the living. Just writing that sentence, I want to see more of that. It doesn’t get creeper than evil dead people talking to you as a kid. Prisons, electric chairs, and dead prisoners are scary! The writer of the film, Leigh Whannell should have gone this route instead of the very bad comedic venture he went with.
Blumhouse, if you need a horror consultant, you know where to find me.