In Insidious: The Red Door, the bright door in the dark, smoky dream-dimensional plane that lets in demons might finally be bolted closed. If, that is, after this film makes money, another sequel doesn’t get made.
The mostly jump-scare driven all-but-horror franchise — with exception to the first and the second films, that is — The Red Door returns the story to the family that started the series: the Lamberts. Though, one can argue that the family was always at the centre of the films — part three and four deviated to stories set in the past, but still featured the Lamberts in some capacity — this legit entry seemingly culminates the main arc.
Again, seemingly seems to be the key word here.
The official synopsis tells you this story: To put their demons to rest once and for all, Josh (Patrick Wilson) and a college-aged Dalton (Ty Simpkins) must go deeper into The Further (the astral plane connecting dreams and demons) than ever before, facing their family’s dark past and a host of new and more horrifying terrors that lurk behind the red door.
Insidious: The Red Door returns the story to the family that started the series but the franchise has long overstayed its welcome
What it doesn’t tell you is that the film is directed by lead actor Patrick Wilson in his directorial debut. Wilson takes the reign from Adam Robitel, who took it from Leigh Whannel (who had also written all the screenplays until the last part), who took over directorial duties from James Wan, the helmer of the first two parts.
Wilson is a logical choice to captain the finale, since he knows Josh’s character in and out, and is quite adept in handling the emotional value of the story. However, irrespective of the sensitive nature of the plot — and the conjectured ending one assumes (the film ends the way one thinks it would) — the horror, despite the effective jump-scares, feels utterly sapped.
The red-faced demon (Joseph Bishara) — also called The Man With Fire in His Face, the Lipstick-Face Demon and Sixtass — has never been fascinating, save for the first two parts, when the franchise was still spreading its wings and had a semblance of originality. By now, the demon mostly conjures laughs with his Darth Maul-like face.
Wilson, despite the banal screenplay by Scott Teems (Firestarter, Halloween Kills) shows potential. One wishes that he had directed — and culminated — the franchise in 2014, a year after Insidious: Chapter 2. If that had happened, both he and the Insidious films would have gotten a round of applause and a place in history as the franchise that respected the audience’s patience.
Starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Hiam Abbass, Sinclair Daniel, Andrew Astor and Lin Shaye as the astral projecting guru Elise Rainier, Insidious: The Red Door is playing now in cinemas across Pakistan. The film is rated ‘U’ in Sindh according to listings
Published in Dawn, ICON, July 16th, 2023