Insidious: The Red Door

08/07/2023 09:26

Film: Insidious: The Red Door

Year: 2023

Director: Patrick Wilson

Writers: Scott Teems and Leigh Whannell

Starring: Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne



This was a movie that I wasn't shocked to hear coming out, but more that it took as long as it did. Being that this is Patrick Wilson's directorial debut added an element here. He's an actor that I'm a fan of so seeing him get behind the camera. It is in part thanks to this role that he did great in which is interesting. Since I don't watch trailers, I came into this one blind. What I did know was that they were continuing the story from Insidious: Chapter 2.

Synopsis: The Lamberts must go deeper into ‘The Further’ than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all.

We start this off with a cold open. It is at the funeral for Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey). In attendance is her son, Josh (Wilson). We learn by the end of this sequence that he and Renai (Rose Byrne) are divorced. The children live with her. Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is getting ready to head off to college and his relationship with his father is strained. There is also Foster (Andrew Astor) and Kali (Juliana Davies). I want to point out that at the end of Chapter 2, Dalton and Josh were hypnotized by Carl (Steve Coulter) to forget their ordeal in ‘The Further’.

This has side-effects though. Josh has a fog that causes him to forget other things and he is struggling. This adds to Dalton not getting along with him. Renai encourages Josh to drive Dalton to school to see if that time together will help. It doesn't. Dropping him off ends up in a fight that leaves both feeling empty. Dalton does make a new friend, his accidental roommate of Chris Winslow (Sinclair Daniel).

Something I've left out is that the opening credits recap the events of the first two movies through artwork. This is fitting as Dalton is an art student. He came to this school to learn under Professor Armagan (Hiam Abbass). For an exercise, she has her class go deep inside themselves to paint a powerful memory. She doesn't know Dalton's history and this seems to awaken something within him. He starts to draw a door. The more he tries to remember, the more terrifying things become for him. He might be able to communicate with the dead once more.

Josh goes into get an MRI and has an experience of his own. The doctor is confused when they come in. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong medically with him. There is an unresolved issue with Josh's father abandoning him and him not wanting to do the same. He must come to terms with this and discover the truth. The problem is remembering what him and Dalton went through before it is too late.

That is where I'll leave my recap and introduction to the characters. Where I want to start is with a couple of positives. I love that they got the original cast members back here that they could. Wilson, Simpkins, Byrne and Astor are all reprising their roles. There are also cameos by Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Lin Shaye and composer Joseph Bishara. Continuity is a big thing for me as a story guy and bringing back the same actors falls into that. They also craft an interesting story here. I like that it takes place nine years after Chapter 2, which was the last chronologically. An issue though is that this feels too much like a mirror with minor changes to that movie as well. I'll get back to that though.

Where I want then to shift to delve a bit deeper, I think that this does a great job at capturing what I like about the original two in this series. It is good that this came out 13 years after the first one did. Now the sequel takes place right after and in parts, during. This one is then nine years after that. I like what they did there. That allows them to use Simpkins and Astor since they're older like their characters. It also sends Dalton to college for his experiences. It separates him which adds tension. We know things have happened to this family in between the films and it is reflected.

I also thought it was intriguing to bring back the Lip Stick Face Demon (Bishara). That character terrified me so having Dalton deal with him all over again was good. He doesn't remember, so that works. How Dalton and Josh end up back in ‘The Further’ are similar while also different. I thought that was good. There is a gripe that I have here though. This feels too much like remaking the first two. This doesn't ruin the movie. I just wanted more. We also take too long for the characters to remember and get back into ‘The Further’. It then felt rushed. This feels like a redemption for Josh and coming to terms with his absence father issue. That's fine but give me more of this demon as well.

So that should be enough for the story there. Where I'll then go is the acting. Now I've already given credit to bringing these cast members back. Simpkins is good as this angst-ridden teen. There are good reasons and I like how they're given to us without an information dump. I like that he's sharing the lead here with his father. Wilson is also good. My only issue is what I said about a redemption tale for his character. That pulls away from the more interesting aspects with the demon coming for Dalton. It can be there, but I don’t want that feel like the sole focus like it does. Another sequel might be needed now that the arch here is complete. Byrne was good along with Astor and Davies. I like what Daniel, Abbass and our new characters do to push Dalton to his discovery. The cameos are good for fans and fit to round this out for what was needed.

All that is left then is with the filmmaking. For the most part, I thought it was good. What they do are good with the effects when being in ‘The Further’. The make-up of the ghosts is creepy. That is one of the stronger parts. Pulling in the musical selections and editing, this had jump scares that were effective. I'm not normally the biggest fan, but this had a couple that got me. I do think there is CGI here that doesn't necessarily work. Again, not enough to ruin it. I'd say that overall, this is well-made. Credit again to Wilson for directing this.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this sequel more than the prequels that have come out. The stakes are back since we don't know what could happen to these characters. I like the family issues that we are dealing with here and how Chapter 2 created them. The acting is good in bringing these characters to life. This is well-made with the creepy factor being top notch. I don't think that will work for everyone. I do think there is a misstep with spending too much time with Josh's arch and not enough with exploring Dalton's. Regardless, if you like this franchise or at least the first two, I think this is a return to form. I'd recommend giving this a viewing, especially for a mainstream horror film.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10