The Insidious franchise was a surprise hit in 2010. It allowed director James Wan to make a name for himself as a maestro of horror. Insidious’s success has now spawned a franchise of five feature films. It includes a series of prequels and sequels spreading all over this universe. After four films, Insidious: The Red Door reunites audiences with the Lambert family. The story follows Josh (Patrick Wilson) trying to reconcile with his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) after his divorce from Renai (Rose Byrne). When Renai suggests Josh drive Dalton to college, the Lambert men do not know the horrors that await.
Insidious: The Red Door was marketed as the conclusion of the Lambert family saga. It is a marketing tactic that hopes to draw audiences into the theater. The film never lives up to that premise’s potential. The Red Door’s problems are bountiful, but the direction is not one of them. First-time director Patrick Wilson (Insidious) does an admirable job with the more terrifying moments. Once our heroes travel into “the further,” it has moments of fun and genuine scares. Those scares simply come too late into the film to make an impression, largely because of the screenplay.
Story/character creator Leigh Wannell (who has had a hand in every film in the franchise) and script writer Scott Teems miss the point of what made the series a success. Instead of creating a sense of foreboding dread, the focus is on the Lambert family drama. That idea for the final franchise installment is interesting in theory. It simply does not work because of how long it has been since we saw the Lamberts; 13 years have passed since audiences were introduced to those characters. With it being so long since they have been seen, my connection to them was not as strong. No connection makes the drama of Josh and Dalton less compelling. A lack of emotional attachment creates a fifth installment that leaves me disappointed once the credits roll.
The Red Door falls into the category of another boring horror movie. These characters do not have the weight to be dramatically compelling. Its 107-minute running time does not have the proper number of scares. The Lambert family drama makes viewers crave the horror that the franchise delivered in the past. Once the credits roll, it will leave you pining for the chills and thrills that the original Insidious delivered. One would only hope that the bonus features could redeem the story’s narrative shortcomings.
This home release had the potential to make the film something stronger. On both physical and digital media, it only contains two featurettes titled “A Possessed Director” and “The Family: Past, Present, Further,” with a combined running time of seven minutes. Thankfully, both featurettes have interesting behind-the-scenes perspectives. “A Possessed Director” is especially interesting in theory. Wilson obviously has a deep-rooted connection to this five-film franchise. The problem is that since the featurette is only four minutes, it is too quick to have any emotional impact.
Insidious: The Red Door is a lackluster conclusion to an overall enjoyable horror franchise. The film wants to be an endearing and spooky story and Patrick Wilson does what he can to make something unique behind the camera. Its results equal a film that does not have the emotional weight needed in a final installment. Between the featurettes and the story itself, this home release is not worth your time. The conclusion is frustrating with bonus features that do not help enhance your viewing. Such a disappointing film needs to have features that grab the audience’s attention. Unfortunately, this final Insidious home release is unable to redeem numerous narrative shortcomings.
Insidious: The Red Door Special Features:
- Past, Present, Further
- A Possessed Director
- Optional English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature
Available on digital September 5th, 2023.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD September 26th, 2023.
For more information, head to the official Sony Pictures Insidious: The Red Door website.
This piece was written during the SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.