American films

Film review – Insidious: The Last Key, starring Lin Shaye, brings palpable tension and well-earned jump scares

This standard horror fare sees Shaye’s character return to her family home to investigate a supernatural disturbance, but the computer-generated demons are less scary than an abusive father with a murderous temper

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 January, 2018, 12:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 January, 2018, 12:04am

2.5/5 stars

Much like the Saw franchise, the Insidious films look backwards as eagerly as they move forwards, folding in on themselves to bring dead characters back time after time. This is hardly surprising, as both series were created by Australian filmmakers Leigh Whannell and James Wan.

While the Malaysian-born Wan has since moved on to grander scale blockbusters such as Furious 7 and DC’s upcoming Aquaman, Whannell has remained integral to the franchise. Not only does he write and produce this latest prequel, but he also reprises his role of Specs, one of the goofy sidekicks of veteran paranormal investigator Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye).

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In a move that seems to go against the grain of Hollywood’s institutionalised chauvinism, the ageing Elise now takes centre stage, as her character returns to her family home to investigate a supernatural disturbance. And no sooner has she set foot inside the house, located next to a spooky state penitentiary, the very real horrors of her traumatic childhood come flooding back.

When exploring these real-world terrors, Insidious: The Last Key generates some palpable tension – and more than a couple of well-earned jump scares. But much of this hard work, from incoming director Adam Robitel and his solid cast, is undermined whenever the film is sucked into “The Further”.

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The computer-generated demons that lurk in this supernatural netherworld, which connects all the Insidious films, ultimately prove no match for the tangible reality of an abusive father with a murderous temper.

Insidious: The Last Key opens on January 4

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