“Insidious: The Red Door” Rating: 3.5/5
“The Insidious” series has been one of the most popular horror franchises in the last twenty years. Through the highs and the lows, they still maintain a nice entertainment value.
We find the fifth entry examining the Lambert family in a new stage of their lives. Dalton is off to college and his parents have divorced. But Josh decides to drive Dalton to college to mend their fractured relationship. Once Dalton arrives at school, both he and Josh begin to experience paranormal premonitions that bring back their traumatic experiences. They must travel into The Further one final time to confront these demons once and for all.
I’ll give it to Patrick Wilson; he does a pretty good job on his directorial debut. He’s been a staple for the “Insidious” and “Conjuring” franchises, so I was thrilled to see him take on this project. Certain creative choices he made were interesting, opting for a more character centric story rather than a dread infused fright fest. The scares are in favor of bringing the two together rather than engulfing the audience in the mystery of The Further.
Wilson and Simpkins perform well in the leading roles, managing to bring audience members back to their dynamic from the first two films. But the struggles and obstacles they face feel real, making it easier to understand their fractured relationship.
I appreciated the change of scenery from the previous films. Dalton is away from his family, which creates a new vulnerability he’s never faced, while Josh is also alienated from the rest of the family. This issue maintains a nice sense of urgency throughout the film, where the terrors become increasingly close.
I also believe the film concludes with a sense of completion. I’ll admit I think “Chapter 2’s” ending was probably the more satisfying end, but at least we get some nice character arcs. As always, there are some creepy demons that pop out from the dark or lunge at the screen. The scariest being the MRI sequence where Josh is trapped in a claustrophobic tube, being locked in the dark as an unknown entity creeps closer to him. Awesome stuff!
While Wilson makes the most of his directorial debut, there are a few areas he could tidy up before his next outing. The main area that hinders “The Red Door” would be the feeling of inconsequence. I do believe “Insidious: Chapter 2” wraps up the Lamber’s storyline in a more efficient way. This story feels forced as a cash grab just to make one more “Insidious” movie.
A good portion of the plot is centered around Dalton and Josh remembering what happened to them from the first two movies and then relearning about The Further. This is problematic because the audience already knows about The Further, so the exposition and time spent on these details feel repetitive. The film lacks scares as well. What made the original “Insidious” so scary was the inventive nature of the story. It was terrifying to a degree we’d never seen before. “The Red Door” almost spends too much time on the characters, something I never thought I’d criticize. Unfortunately, this is the least scary “Insidious” film.
There’s a character named Nick the Dick who’s inclusion feels out of place. Dalton spends a long sequence at this character’s Frat house which ultimately leads to nothing. I would have rather the filmmakers cut this sequence entirely for more explorations into The Further or mending the fractured relationship between Dalton and Josh.
Finally, the conclusion feels strange. While satisfying in its own right, the place we leave the characters makes “Insidious: Chapter 2” feel pointless. Ultimately, this may leave the franchise feeling more fractured than fluid.
“Insidious: The Red Door” is a worthwhile conclusion to the Lambert storyline. Although certain decisions are perplexing and the scares are underwhelming, the film earns its merit through strong characterization. I’d say check this out if you’re a fan of the series, but this won’t be the film to win over newbies.
I hope to see Patrick Wilson tackle another horror project in the near future. Perhaps an entry in the “Conjuring” series next?
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