The year is off and running with new horror films and it starts with “Insidious: the Last Key,” the fourth installment in the “Insidious” series.
The underrated Lin Shaye returns as paranormal researcher and psychic Elise Rainier whose Spectral Sightings hotline receives a call asking her to investigate some odd goings on at a house. The catch? It was the home she grew up in and where she first experienced her gift of communicating with ghosts.
A prologue takes us to the New Mexico home in 1953 where we see a young Rainier dealing with her spooked little brother, her loving mother and abusive father all witnessing what this girl is capable of, although she is told to ignore it.
Then she makes contact with a ghost who asks her to open a door to release it from its enclosure. Bad idea. Afterward, we jump to 2010 where Rainier returns to her home with her two associates (screenwriter Leigh Whannell and scene stealer Angus Sampson) who endure her choice of wardrobe for them even though they dress not so much like ghostbusters but as though they are wanting to discuss the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
While the effects make for a good scare fest and despite a shining performance from Shaye, this film falls short of being either a worthy sequel or a solid entry in a horror film franchise (three words that can be a lot of fun or dreaded with each new trailer) and makes for only a one-time viewing. Better luck next time, Blumhouse Productions.