Insidious: The Red Door movie review (2023)
Horror fans rejoice as Patrick Wilson, known for his role in the “Insidious” and “Conjuring” series, makes his directorial debut with “Insidious: The Red Door.” This latest installment is the fifth, and supposedly final, chapter in the “Insidious” franchise, and it marks the return of the Lambert family, who have been absent from the series since 2013 when the focus shifted to prequels centered around Lin Shaye‘s character, Elise Rainier.
In “The Red Door,” we catch up with Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins), who has now grown into a brooding 19-year-old art student beginning his college journey. His parents, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne), have separated, and his grandmother Lorraine, who played a pivotal role in saving Dalton from evil spirits in The Further, has passed away. However, a hypnotist quickly wipes significant portions of the Lamberts’ memories, including their experiences in The Further.
As the story progresses, we witness Dalton’s gift for astral projection taking on a deeper significance. No longer just a mysterious phenomenon, it becomes a metaphor for inherited trauma and mental illness, a theme that has become somewhat overused in recent horror films. While the film attempts to explore this angle through revelations about Josh’s unknown past and the family’s struggles, it fails to deliver the same impact as earlier entries in the franchise.
One aspect that stands out in “The Red Door” is its ability to deliver scares, particularly in the first half of the movie. Patrick Wilson, drawing from his experiences working with James Wan, successfully utilizes jump scares to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. A chilling scene involving Josh hallucinating a ghastly old woman while inside an MRI machine stands out as a highlight.
Visually, the film stays true to the misty aesthetic of its predecessors, evoking the eerie atmosphere that fans have come to expect from the “Insidious” series. The movie also incorporates callbacks to earlier installments, although some feel half-hearted, and the attempt to tie all the pieces together appears somewhat lacking in commitment.
Despite the decline towards an underwhelming finale, “Insidious: The Red Door” manages to provide a reasonably satisfying conclusion to the Lambert family’s story. The movie’s adherence to a PG-13 rating means that explicit gore is replaced with other scary elements, but this does not detract significantly from the overall experience.
Patrick Wilson’s performance as Josh is commendable, but it’s no surprise given his long-standing involvement in the franchise. With his directorial debut, Wilson demonstrates his familiarity with the horror genre, even if the film doesn’t quite reach the heights set by its predecessors.
In conclusion, “Insidious: The Red Door” is a welcome addition to the franchise, though it might not leave as lasting an impression as earlier entries. As the supposed final chapter, it ties up loose ends and brings closure to the Lambert family’s journey in The Further. Whether this truly marks the end of the “Insidious” series remains to be seen, as horror franchises are notorious for resurfacing when least expected.
Now showing in theaters.