'Insidious: The Red Door' Unlocks Creepy Scares, but the Story Pales in Comparison

Directed by Patrick Wilson

Starring Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, Rose Byrne, Andrew Astor, Sinclair Daniel

Photo: Boris Martin

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Jul 7, 2023

The fifth and final film of the Insidious franchise is one scary and solid return to the Further, delivering some of the best scares in the franchise. 

Insidious: The Red Door opens with young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and his dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) being hypnotized to forget nightmarish dimension known as the Further. Nine years later, Dalton is a teenager attending art school while his parents are divorced. Josh doesn't share a strong relationship with his son, as the last few years have been foggy for him, causing him to distance himself from the family.

Meanwhile, Dalton's art teacher encourages him to "sink further" into his subconscious for an art project. He draws a painting of a red door and, unknowingly, opens a portal that invites unwelcome visitors into their realm, haunting both Josh and Dalton.

Having previously starred in Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, Wilson makes his directorial debut, delivering his own unique spin on the Insidious experience. The use of perfectly timed jump scares had the audience at my screening jumping out of their seats more than once. The scenes and scares feel earned; unlike other tackier horror films, they aren't just misused props added unnecessarily to draw screams. The prolonged use of silence as the camera lingers on objects and characters unnervingly is another smart way Wilson utilizes our discomfort to propel us into the Further. 

The relationship between Josh and Dalton is strained, and the movie makes good use of humour and drama to add more depth and character to the horror. The idea of inherited trauma is a loose thread that is woven into the fabric of The Red Door with great effect.

Simpkins also delivers, having the audience invest in his vulnerability, instead of just being a broody art kid. He's got the chops to bring earnestness to a dramatic horror entry. For her part, Sinclair Daniel, who plays Dalton's roommate Chris, is a fresh addition to the ensemble. Her comic timing is strong, and she's someone to watch out for in the future.

However, the film is far from perfect. The story feels bare, and the ending forced. Rose Byrne is under-utilized in the film, appearing in only two scenes. While Wilson shows signs of being a promising director, especially as a horror filmmaker, the script is weak and lacks a satisfying conclusion.

The Red Door isn't the best Insidious film, but it certainly had some of the best scares. Go for the Insidious franchise, but stay for Wilson's directorial debut that guarantees screams.
(Sony Pictures)

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