In this entry of the franchise, director Adam Robitel, surprisingly has crafted a well rounded and effective entry into the Insidious series that reaches to the heights of the first two films. Using the traditional ghost story formula, The Last Key is set after the third entry in this storied franchise from James Wan. It plays as a prequel, before the first two that brings forth a complete balance and confidently leaves the door open for a fifth entry.

This time around, the story focuses primarily on Lin Shaye’s character. The film begins by exploring her childhood where she encountered a demon that haunts her childhood home ultimately murdering her mother, driving her father to madness and has her estranged younger brother distancing himself from her. The film flashes forward to after the events of the third film. Shaye receives a phone call from her old home’s current occupant who tells her about his experiences with the ghosts and the demons that lurk there. Shaye is once again forced to go down into “The Further” to solve the mystery of the demon and how to beat it in a final confrontation. This time around Shaye is accompanied by actress Caitlin Gerard as a young woman who possesses the same super natural gift.

The film surprisingly surpasses the previous film though it does have its fair share of setbacks. It is predictable and filled with unintentionally unfunny attempts of bland humor that temporarily derail the essence of the films structure. Director Robitel crafts well placed effective jump scares; they just aren’t as consisting as one would hope. There is an Easter egg moment that parallels a connecting bridge to the entirety of the series that I found to be rather interesting.

Insidious: The Last Key, is a pleasant entry despite its inability to rise itself above the original two films and it is certainly more satisfying than the third. Lin Shaye is the highlight of the film and excites me for the next entry in the series.

2 ½ stars