Time Out says
The third sequel is a scare too far, but there’s still gimmicky fun to be had.
Spooked Lin Shaye, the unlikely anchor of the Insidious franchise, has a touch of the castigating schoolmarm about her. (One of her first roles, a bit part, was as a high school teacher in A Nightmare on Elm Street.) She’s never fully persuasive during the inevitable run-around climaxes that mar these films’ suspenseful buildups, but you can always count on her to issue a stern dressing-down to an evil spirit in her weirdly reassuring Midwestern accent.
Insidious: The Last Key (don’t count on this fourth installment being the last of anything) re-ups Shaye in her role as a starchy ghost whisperer and medium of the “Further.” As in the last movie, 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3, Shaye’s Elise is called upon both to hunt demons and to be a kind of den mother to a pair of bickering boy-men, Specs (screenwriter Leigh Whannell, admirably self-deprecating) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), fans of the supernatural who’ve parlayed their appreciation for pseudoscience into internet fame.
The movie works best during its extensive flashback sequences that explore Elise’s troubled teenhood, a time when she grappled with budding sensitivities and an abusive dad. When she runs away from home (young Hana Hayes is terrific in these scenes), you get a whiff of the film that might have been, one closer in spirit to domestic tragedy. But there are creepy monsters with keys for fingers to bring into the plot. Hard-core fans get the loud noises they came for, but true fear vaporizes.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cast and crew