Insidious: The Red Door – 54%
Reviewer Ranking: 2,331/5,067 (54%)
Insidious: The Red Door is the fifth installment in the franchise. Here we pick up where Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) left off. We last saw the Lambert family when dad Joshua (Patrick Wilson) was possessed by the woman dressed in black and went about trying to murder his family. The oldest Lambert child, Dalton, was in an astral-projection-induced coma, and eventually Pops rescued him from the recesses of The Further. Franchise mainstay Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye, star of chapters 3 & 4) died and a colleague of Rainier hypnotized the Lambert boys and erased the entire year from their minds.
9 years has past, and Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is off to college. He and his father are both obviously struggling and have a strained relationship. While some characters are unexplored (Rose Byrne’s Renai Lambert), The Red Door embraces some of the reality of a family that has survived an immensely traumatic experience. The victory almost seems pyrrhic, a family’s lives saved only to endure unending emotional and mental turmoil that tears everyone apart. I enjoyed actor-turned-director Patrick Wilson’s focus on the intertwined pain associated with generational trauma, specifically among fathers and sons. While most of us won’t work through our issues with messages from the dead and daring netherworld escapades, The Red Door is the most successful in series history at establishing an emotional core.
Visually The Red Door follows the rules of the Insidious universe. Dark blues and grays amid black voids fill the Further, which heighten the potency of the sharp reds that appear at critical intersections. Patrick Wilson as director does a good job playing with perspective and focus when it comes to some of the film’s creepy moments, and this allows for a few effective jump scares — a distinct improvement over the sloppy jump-scare execution of the previous Insidious movie, The Last Key. Simpkins does a fine job as a young adult Dalton; his moodiness never falls into melodrama or farce. Dalton’s college friend Chris (Sinclair Daniel) brings to the proceedings a needed charm and humor. I struggled to understand exactly why Chris trusts Dalton so explicitly given their experiences, which makes the character feel underwritten.
Insidious: The Red Door makes the most effective use of the Further in the entire franchise. Patrick Wilson’s film carries more narrative weight than the previous sequels in the series and delivers an impactful climatic sequence. While hampered by some of the issues found throughout all five films, The Red Door stands as a successful entry in the Blumhouse catalog and a fitting potential closure to the Lambert family saga.
Reviewer ranking of the Insidious franchise:
Insidious (2010) – 2,112 (58%)
Insidious: The Red Door (2023) – 2,331 (54%)
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) – 2,712 (47%)
Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) – 2,805 (45%)
Insidious: The Last Key (2018) – 2,808 (45%)