INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR is a scary fine time

by Charles Gerian

“I feel like I’m getting closer to something… or something is getting closer to me.”

INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, the conclusion to the “Insidious” franchise and fifth entry overall to the series, released this weekend to a jaw-dropping $60 million global tally off a meager $15 million budget, proving without a doubt that horror is still and always will be a lucrative market.

It also proves that star Patrick Wilson has a damn good eye, as he made his directoral debut with this R-rated horror/drama after years of working and observing genre masters such as Zack Snyder, James Wan, Roland Emmerich, and Joel Schumacher to name a few.

THE RED DOOR takes place almost 10 year after the events of INSIDIOUS (2010) and INSIDIOUS : CHAPTER 2 (2013) and the Lambert family is reunited at the funeral of Josh’s (WIlson) mother.

His and his wife Reni (Rose Byrne) are separated and their children Foster, Kali, and Dalton don’t want much to do with their dad after the events of the second film where he tried to murder them under the possession of The Old Lady demon.

Seeking a chance to bond with his oldest, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), Josh agrees to drive him several hours away to his art college.

Upon arriving, Dalton and Josh get into an argument about Josh being so distant and Dalton having no recollection of the entire year that the first two films happened when he was 10 years old, before the father and son were effectively brainwashed by hypnosis to forget about their entire ordeal and experiences with The Further, the dangerous dimension between the living and the dead.

Another shock comes to Dalton in the form of his dorm-mate…a black girl named Chris Winslow (Sinclair Daniel), as Dalton expected the name “Chris” to belong to a boy, of course.

At his first day in art class, their art instructor (a surprising cameo from genre star Hiam Abbass) readies them to “dig into their past” and paint from the further reaches of their mind.

She begins counting down from 10…mirroring the exact method that Josh and Dalton would use to slip into The Further.

Soon Josh begins wildly painting a mysterious door, and unknowingly opens up a horrific past of nightmares and murderous phantoms that come flooding back to him and his father.

Now with Chris’s help, Dalton has to figure out what the “Red Door” means, why he can astral project into The Further, and most importantly how to stop whatever is coming for him and his father all these years later.

INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR is less a horror film than it is, surprisingly, a film about the sins of our fathers and the coping and dealing with deep-seeded trauma.

Wilson, who has always been the highlight of whatever he’s in (Watchmen, Lakeview Terrace, The Conjuring, etc) really acts his ass off here alongside Simpkins who succesfully transitioned from in-demand child actor (Jurassic World, Iron Man 3, Insidious) to a very adept star.

Simpkins’ chemistry with relative unknown Sinclair Daniel is a joy to watch, and she is a very welcoming comedic balance to the very heavy film.

Behind the camera, Wilson crafts a slew of inventive scares and frames some absolutely great shots. My friend and I jumped quite a few times, especially during one hilarious fake-out moment involving a big window that doesn’t exactly end how you think it does.

In classic Insidious fashion, the film shows but rarely tells anything about The Further, making it that much more interesting.

The Lisptick Demon who was made an overnight horror sensation in 2010 with first film’s iconic jumpscare is back again, and we know somehow even less about it, or why it seeks to harm the Lambert Family.

There’s a hint that Dalton could use his powers to communicate with the spirits but that really goes nowhere, and perhaps it is a better film because of it.

The film’s climax takes us deeper into The Further and we get some very cool sets from it with an ending that isn’t exactly a big “horror climax” but rather a more subdued “learning to confront your past” exercise.

In a way, it was reminiscent of last month’s THE FLASH which also traded a big knock-down drag out superhero brawl between the villain and hero for a moment of personal growth instead.

If THE RED DOOR truly is the last installment in the franchise, it ended on a great note. There was no startling jump-scare cliffhanger, nothing to possibly build off of…


Many years ago, the idea was being kicked around for a crossover of the “SINISTER” franchise and Insidious called “INSINISTER” and I think we, as a society, need this.

Also, if Patrick Wilson wants to stay behind the camera, I think he absolutely has every right to direct more. Sony loves to keep their people around, and I have no doubt they’ll have a nice big feature lined up for Wilson in the coming years.

INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR is playing now in Cowley and Wichita.