Knowing very little about the Insidious franchise, I wasn't sure what to expect with this fourth instalment of the franchise. I'd read up a little on the previous movies to make sure I wasn't going to be completely lost, but happily, this fourth instalment is a story unto its own and is completely followable without having any knowledge of the previous movies.
The premise? Elise Rainier, the protagonist of the franchise and gifted parapsychologist, returns to this movie to face a demon of epic proportions. After starting with a flashback to Elise's abusive and unhappy childhood, we see her summoned back to her childhood home to heal old wounds and evict a malevolent entity dwelling in the house. Not only does this force Elise to face the battle of her life, but it also makes her face her past and reconcile her differences with the younger brother she deserted as a child.
The film itself is delightfully scary. It's a jump-inducing, suspenseful and scare-filled journey with dark and dim cinematography that leaves the audience wondering what is about to jump out next. The real drawcard, though, is the very human story that runs through it. Seeing Elise grapple with her childhood pain and deal with her estranged family whilst trying to get rid of the evil spirits in the house makes this film much more than just a schlocky horror movie.
Lin Shaye as Elise brings a fighting spirit to this older woman which is a delight to watch. She's sassy, strong and we're absolutely rooting for her the whole movie. Angus Sampson and Leigh Wannell provide some great comic relief with heart as Elise's sidekicks, Specs and Tucker, and the flashback scenes featuring a young Elise and her brother, Christian, are beautifully delivered by Ava Kolker and Pierce Pope. Josh Stewart is also suitably dangerous as Elise's abusive father.
Film-goers who love a scare will definitely not be disappointed by this fourth movie in the Insidious franchise. Take a loved one, snuggle into them and be prepared to jump out of your seats a few times before the film is over.