Why do we watch horror movies? Why do we purposely put ourselves through fear and disgust when our basic survival instinct tells us to avoid such things at all costs?
For the thrills.
A good horror film will frighten you, but a great one will equally thrill and scare you. And it’s such a relief that Insidious: The Red Door does both.
The chronological order of the previous four Insidious movies is convoluted at best, but in order to know who’s who and what’s what in The Red Door, you’ll only have needed to see the first two (arguably the best ones). The story of The Red Door picks up ten years after the slightly traumatic events of Chapter 2, and let’s just say the Lamberts are not okay.
Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) have divorced, and their somewhat sullen first-born Dalton is heading off to college. Josh tries to reconnect with his son, but both of them are completely oblivious to the fact that they both have a connection to The Further, a menacing dimension just past our own, filled with demons.
Once at college, Dalton begins to slowly piece together the gap in his memory from when he was 10. We know he was in a coma because he was trapped in the Further, and Josh got a bit possessed trying to rescue him, which made him slightly homicidal towards his own family, but that’s all water under the bridge. Or is it?
The Red Door has been advertised as the conclusion of the Insidious saga. In many ways, it is a conclusion, especially for the Lambert family. I’m sure someone will make another generic horror film and slap the name ‘Insidious’ on it to sell tickets, but as far as sequels go, The Red Door gets a lot right.
Patrick Wilson, who plays Josh, also makes his directorial debut with The Red Door. Wilson has worked with director and franchise creator James Wan extensively in the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises as well as in the two Aquaman films. Clearly, Wan’s influence has rubbed off on him because The Red Door has some stellar jump scares. They tend to get a bad rep, but when done right, they can be an effective way to put you on edge.
What slightly brings The Red Door down is the cliched screenplay by Scott Teems. Teems also worked on the scripts for Firestarter and Halloween Kills, and The Red Door has the same style of stilted dialogue, which is thankfully elevated by the talented cast.
Ty Simpkins, who was only 9 when he played Dalton in the very first Insidious film, has now matured into playing the character as a moody teenager. Thankfully, Simpkins has worked with a variety of gifted collaborators, and he’s able to dig into Dalton’s frustration and trauma to fuel the character. Lin Shaye and Rose Byrne have about two scenes each; The Red Door is mainly a film about fathers and sons reconciling and reconnecting with each other.
Sure, Insidious: The Red Door doesn’t do anything particularly different or exciting, but it’s a compelling thrill ride from beginning to end. It’s utterly terrifying at points and brings the Lamberts’ story to a satisfying conclusion.
Insidious: The Red Door is in cinemas now.