The trailer for Insidious: The Last Key just dropped today giving us our first look at the fourth film in the horror series.
The Insidious series has been a surprising delight for horror fans. The first film was the prototype for what James Wan would go on to do with The Conjuring and features some truly great scares. While in this humble scribe’s opinion the movie does descend into some Marilyn Manson video-esque silliness in the second half it’s still an effective horror film that Wan made on a $1.5 million budget. Grossing almost $100 million worldwide at the boxoffice a sequel was inevitable. Defying the horror film odds Insidious: Chapter 2 was really good if not arguably better than the original and on a still modest $5 million budget it grossed over $160 million worldwide.
While James Wan would step away from the franchise after this to concentrate on The Conjuring 2 and Furious 7, he left his frequent writing partner Leigh Whannell holding the creative reins. This turned out to be a great move as Insidious: Chapter 3 followed the medium Elise Rainier (played by the wonderful Lin Shae) on her own adventures, to great effect. Chapter 3 succeeds in being a fun and compelling spinoff from the earlier films that establishes Elise and her crew Specs and Tucker as characters capable of carrying a film much like James Wan did with the Warrens in The Conjuring. Chapter 3 did not make as much money as 2 but once a movie series reaches a certain amount of sequels and they still turn a problem, all bets are off and another sequel was inevitable.
Insidious: The Last Key, bewilderingly awful title aside, dips deeper into Elise Rainier’s origins and she heads back to her hometown. It seems that the family home she grew up in was haunted AF and it helped mould her into the paranormal investigator and medium she became. Leigh Whannell wrote this one but sitting in the director’s chair is Adam Robitel who is probably best known for one of the best recent found footage movies The Taking of Sarah Logan which is quite excellent. So the trailer is pretty solid, Leigh Whannell’s creative power is still there and it’s being directed by a promising director. What could go wrong?
Being the third sequel in a franchise is what could go wrong. If a franchise makes it to #3 in the series without starting to suck is something I celebrate. Insidious 3 is one example, another is Paranormal Activity 3 which in my opinion is the best film in the series. Many love A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: the Dream Warriors the most in the whole series and I will love Halloween 3: Season of the Witch all time, all my life and there’s nothing you can do about it.
However I have yet to find a horror franchise that doesn’t absolutely shit the bed by the third sequel. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (HA! Final Chapter) was the beginning of the steep downward slope for the series and Renny Harlin’s Elm Street 4: The Dream Child pushed that series down a flight of stairs. Paranormal Activity 4 was astonishingly stupid and terrible, Halloween 4 is pretty miserable outside of the great ending (which they negate in the next movie). Hellraiser: Bloodlines took the Lament Configuration to space briefly before giving us an awful and unnecessary origin story and the less said about Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation the better. These are movies that didn’t utterly jump the shark with the FIRST sequel and which could fill an entire book by themselves. Are horror franchises cursed? Does a malevolent force make horror sequels bad just to torment us poor horror fans?
Can Insidious: The Last Key (that name sucks) save us when it comes out in January? Only time will tell. Did I miss any good third sequels in a series? Are there any especially bad ones I missed? Tell me below!