Horror films are one of those genres that are often considered to be "critic proof" as fans often give little influence to the opinions of critics. Still, many critics are horror fans and can recognize the good stuff from the bad. So what exactly do critics think of the newest entry in the Insidious franchise? Well, unsurprisingly, a lot of critics aren't particularly impressed with the fourth installment of the series, The Last Key, though there are a few bright spots for the horror aficionado. Our own Conner Schwertfeger (who knows a thing or 10 about good horror movies) gave the film two and a half stars and says that fans of the Insidious films will be largely disappointed by the new entry.
Though skillfully directed, Insidious: The Last Key isn't as good as previous entries. Scares come hard and fast, but they're underserved by a paper-thin plot and characters.
According to Conner, if you simply go to horror movies for the scares, Insidious: The Last Key will certainly provide them. If, however, you find that horror is escalated by getting invested in the plot or the characters of the story, the new film may leave you wanting. The Hollywood Reporter has a similar opinion and while it does call the film "fan-pleasing," it also calls most of the scares "cheap."
As has been the case since the first film, this one centers on shock-cuts and sudden appearances of figures in the shadows. While the franchise's technical overkill may have mellowed over time (sound FX are far less oppressive here), the delivery of the "boo!"s remains on the cheap and arbitrary side.
Among the various horror properties in the market today, the Insidious franchise is a fairly unique sort of animal, considering that it has a protagonist who is not only female, but elderly as well. Variety sings the praises of the character Elise Rainier played by Lin Shaye, saying that the first Insidious film's only serious flaw was killing her off, forcing sequels to jump through hoops to bring her back. While Shaye's work is praised by them, the feeling is it's just not enough to get the job done.
Despite the indomitable Shaye's best efforts, however, new director Adam Robitel is rarely successful in shaking the cobwebs off this increasingly creaky franchise: "The Last Key" is wildly uneven, confused and confusing, and it appears to leave the "Insidious" saga written into a corner yet again.
All this is not to say that every review struggles to find good things to say. Bloody Disgusting isn't just complimentary of the new Insidious film, but they claim it's the best one of the series since the original. They find The Last Key to be a more grounded story, making it more than simply a scarefest.
What started out as an admittedly frightening but altogether playful horror franchise has now morphed into a shockingly insightful commentary on the abuse that so many people have been dealt at the hands of those they hold dear.
There are always going to be different opinions when it comes to film, but the general work on Insidious: The Last Key seems to be that if you're looking for something to scare you, the movie will provide that, though, depending on your perspective, it may not give you much else.