A Nightmare of the Past
As the opening credits roll, the music to this movie already had me spooked. One thing all the Insidious movies have had is a bone-chilling soundtrack that constantly has me on the edge of my seat. We instantly cut to our first scene of the movie, which happens to be located in Five Keys, NM. This was clever as the creature on the cover clearly has a hand with keys as fingertips, thus “five keys.” I know the creature had two hands too… but I still think this was the reasoning behind the name/picture! The next thing I noticed was that this was not the time in which our main story would be taking place. We are clearly seeing a flashback of Elise as a child, who was quite the rabble-rouser apparently. She starts spouting off facts about one of the men who just died at the prison before we see a spotlight on the outside of the house. Wait, what? Are they that close to the prison? Do they really need a spotlight to look for escaped convicts THAT close to their house? Seems like a poor home buying decision to me Gerald.
Also as an FYI, I will be skipping a lot of the smaller scenes throughout this film. If I didn’t, this would end up becoming a book and not a short (-ish) reaction piece. Anyways, now we’re in the room with the two children as they’re attempting to get some sleep. Elise begins talking to her brother on the top bunk, which I had a feeling wasn’t actually him pretty quickly. Elise gets out of bed to see who she was talking to as a creepy little boy briskly walks through the door of the connected room. She freaks out, of course, and her father comes into the room. He asks her if she saw anything, and even tells her to just lie about it before he starts beating her with what I assumed was some sort of switch. We also got the “I punish people for a living” line here, which was very dark (almost as dark as the basement Elise was about to get locked into).
This is where we get our first view of the terrifying key-hand spirit that also seemed to have electricity flowing throughout it. I wasn’t (and to be honest still am not now after watching the movie) sure how this connected to the prison, but you would think that the keys/electricity would have some sort of connection. Then we get the mom heading down to check on her daughter, which just all-time bad decision right here before she sees a possessed Elise staring at a blank wall where the door the hand monster came from. And then the mom gets hanged from the rafters by the electrical wires that were just dangling from the ceiling (that can’t be up to code lol). Elise then starts apologizing before we shoot to present-day Elise. She is waking up from this horrible nightmare and flips her sleep journal open to a page with the kay handed monster.
Home is Where the Monsters Live
The first thing we get in this “act” is a little comedic relief from none other than Tucker and Specs! But that ends quickly as Elise then receives a call from a stranger asking for help… at her old house. She kind of freaks out a bit and abruptly ends the convo with the man, but eventually does decide to help him. She attempts to tell the boys that she must do this alone, and I actually thought for about 15 seconds that this entire movie was going to be solely Elise based, but I was wrong. They show up as she is leaving in a massive RV that has “Spectral Sightings” painted on the side. A smile cracks across Elise’s face before their journey to Five Keys begins.
The town looked to ultimately be abandoned at this point, and her old house looked rundown as hell. As we’re meeting Ted Garza, the current owner of Elise’s childhood “home”, we get what may have been the best line of the movie from the boys. “She’s psychic, we’re sidekick” had me rolling. I couldn’t tell you why since it’s a pretty lame dad-joke, but it killed me. Ted had kept a lot of stuff from the house though (which is a huge no-no) and quickly mentions how the noises/visions started rather quickly after he moved in. Elise states that there are “so many spirits” within the house, most of which are dead spirits from the prison. She also mentions that there are too many there to distinguish between the good and the evil. Mr. Garza then takes them to the room it all started in, which of course it was her old room, saying that he has had it locked for three months. He also went out and bought hundreds of bibles to stack in front of the door apparently. He then goes on to state that it all started with some spirit walking back and forth in the room talking to themselves, which is incredibly ominous.
All of this leads Elise to the decision that she needs to stay in the house by herself. Ted tosses her a bible and dips out before she could even say thank you, but she then proceeds to just lay it down. I took this as Elise knowing that it wouldn’t do her much good, but I could be completely wrong. As soon as she starts looking around the room, the camera that the boys equipped her with starts acting up. She bends down to check under the bed and finds her brothers whistle before mentioning how “it’s safe now.” This line instantly gives away that the whistle will more than likely disappear soon (check) and that it will probably somehow play a big role in dispelling the key-hand monster from hell. She continues exploring before we get a glimpse of a shadowy figure behind her father’s old prison coat is hanging, and then she gets shocked by a pair of keys attached to that same coat. The shadow then appears in the next room outside the door before leading Elise downstairs to the basement.
She continues to browse the house and stops at a table that has two glaringly obvious feet standing on it. I thought that nobody was going to say anything about the feet, but then Tucker points them out. And then BAM, the first apparition appears. It is a woman who whispers “help her” in Elise’s ear before vanishing with the whistle. Elise tells everyone that she has seen that woman before as we jump back to when she was 16 years old. As Christian and Elise are talking, Elise claims to have heard something in the next room. She walks over and notices a woman before her dad shows up and claims that no one is there (lies!). As he starts talking down to her she grabs his face and shows him the future, or at least I think that’s what that was. After all of this, Elise finally decides to call it a night before we jump to the next morning.
A Rainer Family Reunion
The three main characters all head to a diner for some breakfast. Elise notices two girls walk in and tells them they look exactly like someone she knew. I assumed this was her mother, but once again I have no idea how accurate that assumption is. I also get my psychic/sidekick line here again with a “We are kind of like cops, but we don’t arrest humans” line as the boys attempt to impress the two young women. Turns out, these two girls are actually Elise’s nieces (that’s fun to say) and her brother STILL FREAKING LIVES IN THE TOWN WHERE ALL OF THIS HORRIBLE STUFF HAPPENED TO HIM! Christian tells Elise that, “She abandoned him to a real monster, our father,” which was an incredibly deep (and more true then we knew at the time) line. He, as anyone would, still holds a monumental grudge against his sister from all those years ago and exits the diner posthaste. Melissa decides to stay behind to talk with Elise. Elise hands her a picture of the whistle from the night before and tells her to give it to her father, all the while Tucker is in the background hitting on the other sister still.
We jump back to the house again where the red door from the opening scene finally makes another appearance. Apparently, it is a metaphysical door that allows Elise to travel deeper into the further. She then starts asking questions at the woman from the night before and while awaiting a response the three of them hear a whistle off in the other room. Tucker pulls out his enhanced sound magnifying gun here to better hear the whistle, which they discover is down in the basement. I probably could’ve saved them five minutes of searching here though, because if this were real life that is where the spirits would be 10 times out of 10. Elise walks over to one of the walls and a very loud whistle comes from behind it. We then get the genius idea to answer questions with the whistle, one blow for yes and two blows for no. We find out that someone is trying to hurt the guy, but not the whistleblowing woman, and that whatever Elise needs to find is behind this wall she is standing at. Elise then finds the hidden keyhole before sprinting upstairs to grab the keys from her father old coat.
After grabbing the keys, Elise heads back downstairs. She opens the door and walks inside to see a dirt-covered woman kneeling in the corner and her brothers whistle off in the center of the room. She walks over to the whistle first, and as she bends down to grab it the girl in chains magically makes no noise but is much closer to Elise. As she goes to blow the whistle the “help her” woman reappears and Elise then realizes that the dirty woman is actually still alive and that Ted has been holding her down here against her will. Voila, Ted appears downstairs and claims that the monster is in his head making him hold her captive. Specs then makes some noise upstairs, which gives Ted the idea of locking Elise, Tucker, and the dirty woman in the pitch-black room. This leads to a game of cat and mouse between Ted and Specs, which eventually leads to Ted’s head being half flattened by a bookcase.
The cops show up and are going through all of their typical cop duties, and as they do, Elise tells Specs that sometimes monsters are actually still alive. She proceeds to look up at the window after and notices the “help her” girl is still there, so she knows that her work is not quite finished yet. The next day, we see Elise at the police station. We also find out that her brother and his daughters are on their way to the house to find the whistle that he saw in the picture. Finally, something smart happens here, someone actually went to the demon-filled house to look for something DURING THE DAY. I mean technically it doesn’t make a difference, but still a good choice by the Rainer family. As Elise is getting questioned by the cop/explaining she has otherworldly abilities, the lights flicker and an apparition of her niece scares the crap out of her. This alerts her that something is wrong, and more than likely occurring at her childhood house, so she quickly wraps things up with the officer.
Back to the House
We see Melissa back at the house as a voice calls out to her from the basement. It is her father’s voice, but since it is in the basement we can safely assume she is being lured into some sort of ghostly trap. She heads down into the basement and begins exploring, just as her aunt Elise would. Things quickly go awry as Melissa sees the keys move on the table. She lifts up some sort of towel that is covering the keys to find the key hand on the table. The hand then reaches out and flings her across the room where she collides with a wall. The creature then reveals itself on the other side of the room as Melissa lies on the floor. It has a wickedly harrowing shuffle as it makes its way over to her, and as she begins to scream it sticks one of its key fingers into her neck.
This somehow quiets her blood-curdling scream, and then it proceeds to stick that same key finger into the middle of her chest. This completely knocks her out, and as we find out later, locks her away in the further. Elise then shows up at the house as her brother and other niece struggle to find Melissa. She immediately heads to the basement, where they find her chained up. I was lost as to the relevance of the chains as well as how/where they came from, but that’s beside the point. We then get the curveball that the other sister, Imogen, is the one who has powers similar to her aunt. Two things here. One, did anyone else think her name was Emma Jen? I watched about ¾ of this movie before realizing it was not Emma Jen. And two, you think the key-hand creature would be smart enough to take the correct sister, wouldn’t you? Unless they both have powers and the movie just ignores the fact that Melissa has them. Ultimately this doesn’t affect the movie, but it had me thinking before the next set of scenes began.
Elise, Tucker, Specs, and Imogen are now searching the house again. Elise and Tucker break off to go explore the basement again, and as they’re down there she notices something at the back of the fan shaft. This scene was very nerve-wracking for me, but thinking back it really shouldn’t have been. I was waiting for the fan to turn on and chop of Tucker’s arm, but that isn’t even remotely the style of these movies. In fact, the head squishing was probably the most graphic thing this series had shown, and there is almost never any blood throughout the movies either. Elise eventually gets her hands on what turns out to be a dress, which shows her a vision of her father holding a hostage in the same room Garza was. She then notices that the hostage her father is holding was the woman she saw back when she was 16 and that her father beat her to death after Elise ran away.
Then, out of nowhere, a string from the dress appears and starts getting pulled from something in the shaft. The two look back there and notice a suitcase, which Elise has to go get. Tucker pulls the blades system out of the shaft before Elise starts to climb in. He stops her, and makes it seem as if he is going to climb in for her, but ends up just flashing his light into the shaft to make sure it was clear for her. She crawls all the way back to the suitcase and opens it to find some bones dispersed among the personal items of the dead woman. We find out her name was Anna, and that she was a nurse (Garza’s prisoner was as well). This led to a few questions though… Were all of the women we found out about nurses or was this just a coincidence between the first two. If they were all nurses, why were they all nurses? Were those the only women that worked at the prison, thus making them the only women Gerald could easily imprison? (If anyone knows anything about this, be sure to explain it to me in the comments!)
Elise looks disgusted, but as she closes the suitcase she looks to the left and notices a pile of them (which I alluded to in the prior paragraph). She crawls over to those and opens them one by one, finding the same thing in each. This begged the question, was her father a mass murderer or was he also possessed by the evil creature within this house? This ends unfortunately for Elise, as the key creature grabs her by the neck as she is rifling through the final suitcase. This scene was slightly confusing. I was unsure if this was some sort of dream state in which her subconscious was essentially reminding her things she heard from when she was younger, or if she was actually somehow shot into the past to talk to her younger self while she was possessed. However, this scene ends without much explanation and we find out the Elise has more than likely been locked away as Melissa was. Imogen then tells Tucker and Specks that she can save her, and proceeds to drop herself into the further through a hypnosis scene that was sure to make you chuckle.
One Final Trip
Imogen is now in the further, and dead Anna shows up to help her. The two walk down to the basement and open a door, which seemingly leads them to some prison gates they pass through. This leads them to the red door, but Anna tells Imogen she can go no further. Anna hands something to Imogen before she leaves, and even though we don’t get a great glimpse of the object I figured it had to be the whistle. Elise then “wakes up” inside of a crate with a lock around her neck. The crate is open though, so she walks out into her childhood room or some sort of vision of the said room. She walks over to the room’s door, which happens to be a prison door, and notices an endless hall filled with cells. I took this as the place where the creature kept all of the souls he lured into the further. We get another glimpse of the key creature again who happens to be opening another room with Elise’s father within.
Gerald walks out of his cell and into Elise’s. As he does this, the key creature appears again with the switch and her father bends over. Elise begins to beat him in a similar fashion to how he beat her before she realizes that the creature is feeding off of her hatred. Imogen then appears in the prison, but before she begins to play a part in anything, Elise realizes her dad was the creatures puppet all those years ago. Key-Hand McGee then starts to beat the hell out of Melissa before Elise’s father comes to the rescue. The creature does the key in the neck thing to Elise again before Imogen throws the whistle near her. Also, horrible toss Imogen… couldn’t be that hard to slide that thing a little closer to your dying aunt. Elise finally grabs it though and blows the whistle, which causes her mother to show up. Audrey, Elise’s mother, just one hand tosses the disgustingly displeasing creature off into the darkness before the four Rainers set out to leave the further.
They stop at the first door and see a vision of young Christian, which is a complete mystery to me. I don’t understand the relevance that had to the movie or the fact they were trying to escape, but they close the door and make their to a different red door within the hospital. Melissa returns to her body before Elise and Imogen head back to their own, but before they do Elise gets a very touching scene with her mother. We jump back to the hospital where the entire Rainer family gets reunited. Christian embraces Elise this time and forgives her for everything. She then gives him back the whistle he lost all those years ago and the movie seems as if it is going to end happily ever after. Sike, the movie ends with Elise waking from another nightmare. But this time, it’s the one that ties us into the very first Insidious film.
And that’s it! I thought this movie was very well done, and my only complaint would be that when we finally get to see the key handed monster it’s actually somewhat underwhelming. They did an excellent job making the hand so badass and horrific, but the rest of the creature was just meh. All in all, I would still rate the movie an eight out of ten even though many critics and fans didn’t like it overall. I would strongly recommend giving this a watch if you have watched any of the other Insidious movies though, even if you just watch to tie the series out. Thanks for the read, and be sure to leave comments/feedback below!