"Insidious: The Red Door plays it safe and takes it a bit too slow, but it's good performances and nostalgic scares make it worth the viewing."
BY BECCA JOHNSON JULY 12, 2023
Directed by star of the franchise Patrick Wilson and starring himself and Ty Simpkins in the lead roles, Insidious: The Red Door is the conclusion to the story introduced by James Wan back in 2010. This is the Lambert's return to the franchise for the first time since the second instalment, and this time we follow Dalton as he starts college. They are forced deeper into The Further than ever before, as some terrifying events trigger them to remember what they've tried very hard to forget. Insidious: The Red Door plays it safe and takes it a bit too slow, but it's good performances and nostalgic scares make it worth the viewing.
Dalton and Josh are very compelling leads, so following them is an enjoyable time. Their characters are developed fairly well, their progression is believable and their endings are worthwhile. They are also backed by great performances from Patrick Wilson and especially Ty Simpkins, who showcases how well his acting has progressed since the early days of the franchise. Rose Byrne is back but unfortunately severely underutilised, not having a great deal to do aside from giving our characters information. The Red Door is all about a Father and Son mending their broken relationship because of what they've been through, and the elements that explore this are strong. It leaves some other characters behind, but it does make for a good sub-plot. This franchise continues to show flair whilst developing it's leads.
Patrick Wilson has consistently shown how great he can be in this genre, so it's good to see him at the helm as the Director. Luckily, he shows promise. His direction might not be enough to make a statement, stand out or leave us pining for more, but it is undeniably solid and competent. The fault of Insidious: The Red Door isn't with the direction, but with the writing. It is incredibly slow to start, taking a long time to get things moving and introduce The Further. There is a lot of cheesy dialogue that doesn't quite fit, especially as we are discussing deep and dark subjects that deserve something a little more clever. It's biggest flaw is that it's very, very repetitive. It packs all of the intriguing stuff that we came for into it's final ten minutes, giving us slow build-up for the majority of the run-time. As Dalton is at college, Josh is at home and Renai is living elsewhere due to divorce, we never really get to see our characters together. They're not The Lambert's that we know and love, as they barely share the screen.
The Insidious franchise is famous for it's jump scares, and there are plenty throughout this new instalment. Though the trailer may have spoiled one or two, they all work pretty well, especially on a big screen with loud speakers in a dark room. The Red Faced, or Lipstick Faced, Demon is back with a vengeance, and is utilised just fine. However, by the fourth or fifth jump scare, things start to get a little tedious and it seems to be all the movie has to offer. Every ten to fifteen minutes, we get a character moment, a jump scare build-up and a jump scare; it's too repetitive, we can see it coming, and there is no surprise. It's fun to be back in The Further, with the demon blasting 'Tiptoe Through the Tulips', but we have seen it before.
Although Insidious isn't many peoples favourite horror franchise, it is pretty consistent and watchable. It may have peaked during it's first entry, but it's never struggled to provide good character work and plenty of scares. Insidious: the Red Door is much of the same. It feels different in tone to the first couple of instalments, yet utilises tricks, scares and writing that feel familiar. At times it feels samey, but at other times it's nice to have that familiarity as we dive into The Further for the final time. It's competent enough in it's horror, direction and performances, but lacks finesse in it's writing. It's slow pace and repetitiveness is unforgivable at times, particularly during a final instalment. It's good, but not great, playing it too safe. That being said, it ends on a great note.