Fear comes home in Insidious: The Last Key. As the film's trailer revealed, this case finds parapsychologist Dr. Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) investigating the horrors within the house she grew up in. As she puts it to her colleagues Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), Elise doesn't have memories from this place ...she has scars.
The film also takes Elise deeper into the scary supernatural realm of The Further, and features a new demon -- a monster with keys for fingers! Check out this exclusive clip from Insidious: The Last Key to see the evil entity in action:
During a recent one-on=one chat with IGN, Insidious: The Last Key director Adam Robitel discussed the thinking that went into the demon's distinctive look. As already glimpsed in the trailer, a prison appears in the film -- the reasons for which we're going to leave out of this piece due to spoilers -- but suffice to say the film's visual motif of locks and keys stems from that plot element.
Robitel wanted to create "a really iconic demon" for this particular chapter in the horror saga. "So much of Insidious to me is the red-faced, lipstick demon. So from that I pitched this other entity and had some concept art, so between the presentation and the 'lookbook', and this idea for this entity, I think that they really dug it," Robitel said of his initial pitch for directing the film.
"And then I had to meet with [Blumhouse boss and producer] Jason Blum, of course, so I was vetted and vetted and vetted and ultimately, with [franchise co-creators] James [Wan] and Leigh’s blessing, got the job."
"I had done some early concept art with a friend named Jacob Hare, and I wanted something that was iconic and that represented the themes of the movie. This idea of locks and keys, and the idea of a secret within us," Robitel said. "I wanted a demon that could physicalize that idea, thematically."
Although the character died at the end of the first Insidious film, Dr. Elise Rainier has nevertheless become the human face of the franchise, with both Insidious: Chapter 3 and Insidious: The Last Key serving as prequels chronicling Elise's (and Specs and Tucker's) cases before her fateful encounter with the Lambert family. For Robitel, knowing the character's ultimate fate proved "very difficult," although it also challenged him to find a reason to justify his film's existence.
"I think any time you have a prequel in a horror film, you’re sort of cut off at the knees in terms of tension, because you know - at least off-camera - that these people are going to survive," Robitel explained. "So for me, I always start with 'Does this story need to be told, and is it compelling enough?' If you took the genre stuff out of it, is it compelling enough? And for me, going back to my first film, The Taking of Deborah Logan, I love the idea of a movie couched around an older female lead."
"And for Lin, who is so beloved, Elise’s character is so beloved, to have an origin story that talks about how she came to be, where she got power, ... To me, all those things suggest a reason, a raison d’être, a reason to be, a reason to make the movie. In terms of timing I think it was just about bringing the franchise full circle, and this does a good job of a handoff from [Chapter] 3, and now we’re back up to current day. At least, 2008 current day [the time period of the original Insidious]."
Insidious: The Last Key opens January 5th. In addition to Shaye, Whannell, and Sampson, the film's cast includes Josh Stewart, Caitlin Gerard, Kirk Acevedo, Javier Botet, Bruce Davison, Spencer Locke, Tessa Ferrer, Ava Kolker and Marcus Henderson.
William Bibbiani conducted this interview. Follow him at @WilliamBibbiani.
Jim Vejvoda is the Executive Editor of Movies for IGN. Follow him at @JimVejvoda.