INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR

★★

CORE FRANCHISE CAST RETURNS FOR A JUMP SCARE-FILLED SEQUEL

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
6th July 2023

I wouldn't say the 'Insidious' franchise is a staple of the horror genre, but it did set the groundwork for James Wan to take it over. After directing 'Saw', it wasn't until 'Insidious' that we saw his talent in the genre shine, which paved the way for one of the best horror franchises of the 2010s, 'The Conjuring'. Still, the franchise potential of 'Insidious' was always there - 'Chapter 2' came out three years later, and although it was taking place directly after the first film with the core cast, it was extremely lacklustre. 'Chapter 3' saw the franchise breaking off from the original family and set before the events of the first film but again missed the mark, and along with the fourth film 'The Last Key' both felt like they were just slapping the 'Insidious' branding on a cheap horror product. The franchise potential was fading - but now, five years later and over ten years since the franchise began, the original cast is returning in 'The Red Door'.

'INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR' TRAILER

A decade after the events of 'Chapter 2', Dalton (Ty Simpkins, 'Jurassic World', 'Iron Man 3') is heading off to college. Along with his dad, Josh (Patrick Wilson, 'Aquaman', 'The Conjuring 2'), he doesn't recall the hauntings they went through years prior. Renai (Rose Byrne, 'Peter Rabbit', 'Instant Family') and Josh have broken up but remain on good terms, and while his relationship with his son oldest son is tense, Josh drives him to college in an attempt to reconnect. This doesn't go to plan and the two still have a long way to go to reunite. During an art class, Dalton paints a red door which leads him on a journey into his past as he begins to piece together what he has forgotten.

A huge chunk of the run time is dedicated to Josh and Dalton's broken relationship and Dalton adjusting to college life - I mean, my synopsis of the film barely mentions any kind of hauntings.

While a step up from the last entry in the franchise, 'Insidious: The Red Door' is a very paint-by-numbers modern horror film. Its horror elements are extremely lacking, it's just packed with jump scares. While it offers some hints of creativity they always play out exactly how you would think. A huge chunk of the run time is dedicated to Josh and Dalton's broken relationship and Dalton adjusting to college life - I mean, my synopsis of the film barely mentions any kind of hauntings. This is a horror film in a very bare-minimum way. Trying to think back about what horror moments stood out is a challenge, with the film offering nothing memorable.

There are some positives; this is Patrick Wilson's directorial debut, and he does a fine job, but horror is a challenging beast and with this weak script, it's no wonder nothing stood out. He is also giving another great performance; he almost never misses in terms of his acting, and this is another prime example of his talent. Rose Byrne and Lin Shaye both return, but to have them on the poster is false advertising - especially in the case of Shaye - they are glorified cameos at best.

There isn't much to take away from 'Insidious: The Last Door'; it's bland jump scare after bland jump scare. It's an M-rated horror film that serves to please the teenage crowd who want a thrill. It's not a satisfying continuation of these characters yet it's also not painful to sit through. It's the ultimate "fine" horror venture.

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