Published on July 6th, 2023 | by Harris Dang
Insidious: The Red Door – Film Review
Reviewed by Harris Dang on the 6th of July 2023
Sony Pictures Releasing presents a film by Patrick Wilson
Produced by Jason Blum, Oren Peli, James Wan, and Leigh Whannell
Starring Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Sinclair Daniel, Hiam Abbass, and Lin Shaye
Running Time: 107 minutes
Release Date: the 6th of July 2023
Insidious: The Red Door takes place ten years after the events of Insidious: Chapter Two (2013). We follow the Lambert family in a state of disarray after the passing of Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey, through photo and archive footage), the mother of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson), the family patriarch. His relationship with his wife, Renai (Rose Byrne), has become distant and the bond with his eldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins, reprising his role), is non-existent.
In a last-minute decision to repair their relationship, Josh decides to take Dalton to his ivy-league university. However, the two begin to experience strange supernatural occurrences, including things that they experienced a decade ago that were thought were repressed and forgotten. In order to end the nightmare, both Josh and Dalton must venture back into the Further and face their fears in order to survive.
Insidious: The Red Door is the fifth entry in the Insidious franchise and marks the directorial debut of lead actor Patrick Wilson. Continuing from the creative efforts of filmmakers James Wan, Leigh Whannell, and Adam Robitel, Wilson does a proficient job in delivering scares while maintaining an emotional core that makes the drama effective. What is admirable about his direction is his restraint. The use of silence in the set-pieces are disarmingly effective as they help bring up tension and suspense in making the payoffs effective. One notable moment in the film is when Josh enters an MRI scan. Wilson makes the most out of the setting by amping up the claustrophobia to thrilling effect. Wilson (with help from cinematographer Autumn Eakin) also makes surprisingly good use of the lighting and the composition of the images as they subvert the audience’s expectations of where the demon(s) appear.
His reliance on visual storytelling also works as he does not rely on verbose exposition to make the plot and callbacks palatable. A callback with returning supporting characters does the trick – even if the metaphors and plot points involving artistry come across as blatant. However, the film discards its subtlety and nuance in its climax when it surrenders its restraint and dives back into the assaultive filmmaking that has transpired through mainstream horror recently: non-stop loud noises supposedly creating effective jump scares. Fortunately, the simple foreshadowing peppered throughout the narrative apays off in the end as we receive a decent send-off that harkens back to the appealing and amiable family unit feel of the first film.
The same cannot be said for Wilson’s handling of the narratives. He struggles to tie the dual narratives of Josh and Dalton together in a focused and compelling manner. Both narratives clash for prominence and consequently we never truly feel the drama from the side of Dalton, despite Simpkins’ best efforts in the role. The same can be said for the supporting cast, who all give fine, if unmemorable performances. Rose Byrne gets the short shift here as she is pigeonholed into the concerned wife role rather than being an active participant. Sinclair Daniel, as Dalton’s friend Chris does provide ample and welcome comic relief to the bleak proceedings while Hiam Abbass is entertainingly pantomime as Dalton’s art teacher.
Overall, Insidious: The Red Door is an effective end to the Insidious franchise as it is both a good calling card for Wilson as a filmmaker and a fun exercise in delivering terror for the masses. A good effort.
Summary: An effective end to the franchise, a good calling card for Wilson as a filmmaker, and a fun exercise in delivering terror for the masses.