As Annabelle Creation is to The Conjuring franchise, so too is The Last Key to the Insidious franchise – a prequel. I love a prequel, or a prologue as I prefer to call them, as everyone who reads my books will attest. Prologues set the scene and hint at the horrors to come.
The prologue did not disappoint. Learning Elise’s history at the hands of a father who feared her because she was different, did not come as a surprise. Human nature dictates that if something or someone is different, then it must be destroyed. Throughout time mankind has annihilated anything that it cannot figure out (why do you think there are so many wars!).
Josh Stewart, better known to me as JJ’s husband in Criminal Minds, carried off the role of the intimidating and fearful father perfectly; a father who, at the end of the film, in ghost form, tries to save Elise and thus redeem himself.
Elise has always been able to see the other side, a gift that her mother made her promise never to give up, despite her father’s attitude. She knows the house she is living in is home to many malevolent spirits, due to it being next to a state penitentiary, where many criminals have been sent to the electric chair. One such spirit resides in her bedroom and it draws her down to the cellar where a red door exists. Behind the door echoes the voice of a child, begging her to find the key and open the door and free them all. Elise opens the door and through it comes a monster with the power to silence a person with a key inserted into their throat. The monster takes the life of Elise’s mother, leaving her at the hands of a father who doesn’t understand her.
As a teenager she finally stands up to her father, when she admits to him that she has seen a badly beaten woman in the laundry room; a woman who actually proved to be real. Under threat of yet another beating she leaves, leaving her younger brother behind, and never goes back. She knows there is something the house is trying to tell her, but she can’t take the abuse anymore.
Years later, when she is in the latter years of her life, she receives a call from the present owner of the house, asking for her help, as he believes the house is haunted.
Elise goes back to help him and, in doing so, finally unearths the dark secrets the house holds, and the impact it has had on the male occupants over the years. With the help of her newly discovered nieces, Elise fights to finally defeat the monster that she believes she is responsible for bringing into the world.
The end of the film perfectly dovetails into the first Insidious movie.
The story isn’t necessarily a new one, but the filmmakers have succeeded in suspending my disbelief by creating a believable scenario in the eyes of a woman who has never let her sixth sense be beaten out of her.
Full marks for this movie. It even made me jump, but only once ?
Funnily enough, I saw a younger Lin Shaye only a week ago when I went to The Plaza in Stockport for Grimmfest’s showing of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I’d forgotten she was in it ?