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Reviews for January 5th, 2018


Directed by Sandra Ng Kwan Yue


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Well Go USA.
Opens at AMC Empire.

In Between

Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud


Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Film Movement.
Opens nationwide.

Insidious: The Last Key

Directed by Adam Robitel

      Dr. Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye), a parapsychologist, travels to her childhood home in New Mexico to investigate paranormal activity which the current homeowner, Ted (Kirk Acevedo), claims to be experiencing. Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) tag along with her as her sidekicks. As she digs deeper into the paranormal, she must face the painful memories of her troubled childhood with an abusive father, Gerald (Josh Stewart), and crosses paths with her estranged brother, Christian (Bruce Davison), and his daughters, Imogen (Caitlin Gerard) and Melissa (Spencer Locke).

      The latest installment in the Insidious series offers very few scares, little suspense, and no surprises. Screenwriter Leigh Whannell does a poor job of weaving in exposition with too much overexplanation and redunancies. The use of comic relief doesn't quite work here enough to generation laughter because it aims very low without any wit. Did the play on words regarding Specs and Tucker being sidekicks to a psychic really have to be repeated twice? The joke wasn't that funny or clever to begin with. It's as though the film were written for audiences of lower intelligence and who need to be spoon-fed everything because they don't have critical thinking skills. It did a slightly better job of blending sci-fi and psychological horror with a subplot of childhood abuse. The flashbacks to the abuse in Insidious: The Last Key are too awkwardly edited to be effectively horrifying, shocking or remotely moving. At least the films doesn't come close to being as awful and lazy as the horror film The Devil Inside.

      Like many horror films, this one takes its sharpest nose-dive during the inane, lazy third act that doesn't have much tension even when Elise goes into "the further." The production design looks fine, but avid horror fans will be able to easily predict when the jump scares will happen---or even if you haven't watched many horror films, the musical score will remind you when to prepare for one of those so-called scares. Insidious: The Last Key's main asset is Lin Shaye who radiates plenty of charisma and acting chops as the film goes into dark territory. She's what makes this film mildly engaging, but she deserves a far better screenplay.

Number of times I checked my watch: 3
Released by Universal Pictures.
Opens nationwide.


Directed by Jie Han


Number of times I checked my watch: 2
Released by China Lion.
Opens at AMC 34th St.
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