Insidious The Red Door - New Release Review
Director: Patrick Wilson
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Rose Byrne, Sinclair Daniel, Joseph Bishara
Written by: Leigh Whannell, Scott Teems
Produced by: Jason Blum, Oren Peli, James Wan, Leigh Whannell
Cinematography by: Autumn Eakin
Original Score by: Joseph Bishara
The Lamberts must go deeper into The Further than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all.
It’s very rare that anyone gets excited for the 5th movie in any franchise, especially in the horror genre. Freddy, Jason, Michael, even my boy Chucky, all have terrible 5th instalments. 'Insidious' was a massive hit when it was released in 2010, generating 3 more sequels with diminishing returns. The previous entry, 'Insidious: The Last Key', was truly a low point for the series, feeling more like a straight to DVD spin off than an actual official instalment. With it being 5 years from the last film, I was actually surprised when they announced 'The Red Door' and that the original cast from the first two movies were returning. Not only that but star Patrick Wilson (best known for his leading role in 'The Full Monty Musical'*) was stepping into the director's chair for the very first time. Leading up to its release, it feels like there's been a true lack of buzz or promotion for the film. Was this a sign that maybe we had another 5th entry stinker on our hands? (Spoilers! No, it’s fantastic!)
10 years after the events of 'Insidious 2', the Lambert family have become fractured. Josh and Renai (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) are getting a divorce and their oldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is leaving for college. Of course, all of the terrible events of the first two films have caused a rift between Josh and Dalton. Unfortunately for them, they both had their memories wiped of all the paranormal things that happened to them, but now 10 years later, they are starting to feel the effects of having those memories wiped.
'The Red Door' is a true sequel to the original two films, so if you’re coming in as a new viewer or you haven’t seen those films in a while, you might feel lost at the start. It’s my biggest gripe with the film to be honest, as the film stops about an hour in to reintroduce legacy characters (through YouTube clips, yuck) who then explain to the audience how astral projection works, even though we’ve had 4 whole movies beforehand, explaining it in great detail. I understand the want to include past characters, but when those characters have already died in previous movies it feels cheap and forced.
Patrick Wilson does an amazing job as a first-time director. Not only does he handle the scares well but he’s also able to craft great dramatic scenes between himself and Ty Simpkins. It’s very clear that the two actors share a bond from working together on the first two films. Ty Simpkins has become a fantastic actor in his own right, especially recently with his underrated role in 'The Whale'. Ty’s Dalton has a very fun and realistic friendship with dorm mate, Chris (Sinclair Daniel). Wilson creates a horror set piece in a frat house that honestly terrified me. I rarely get scared at horror films, but honestly, several moments in this film had me nervous for what was coming next. My girlfriend who was watching the film with me put her coat over her head because the scares were getting too intense for her. When watching the film, two films kept coming to mind; 'The Sixth Sense' and 'The Exorcist III'. It was riding a fine line between drama and horror, similar to those two films...up until the last 20 minutes, then it has to slip back into being a standard 'Insidious' film.
I could feel Wilson wanting to tell a story about family traumas and mental illness, but this film wasn’t quite the right place for it. By the last act, we’re hitting all the beats of the red face demon, the tip toes song and travelling through The Further. It’s a shame but I understand, as it is the 5th film, teenagers looking for a cheap scare on a Friday night need to have their fun too. I’m hoping Wilson gets another swing at directing because I honestly feel like he has it in him to create something outstanding.
It’s interesting that 'Insidious', 'Insidious 2' and now 'The Red Door' make a perfect trilogy. They close things out with the Lambert family, yet leave the world open to make more films in this universe. James Wan moved onto 'The Conjuring' after 'Insidious 2' and obviously that became a juggernaut franchise, and it felt like 'Insidious' was left behind a bit. Now it feels like the ship has been righted somewhat, with the franchise's main star stepping up as director, 'Insidious' can hold its head high as the gold standard in modern studio horror.
*I’m not even joking, search up 'The Full Monty Musical', Our Paddy is an amazing singer.
- Adam Neeson
'Insidious: The Red Door' is out in cinemas right now