As Insidious: The Red Door closes, let’s hope another one doesn’t open.
INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR brings Patrick Wilson’s other horror franchise back to its main narrative thread after the previous two films in the series offered unnecessary and underwhelming forays into prequelisation, coming back to the Lambert family nearly a decade on from the events of INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2. It also marks actor Patrick Wilson’s directorial debut, which goes some way towards explaining his characters absence for large parts of the movie, leaving Ty Simpkins to shoulder much of the movie. Thankfully, Simpkins is more than up to the task of bringing us along for the ride on what amounts to SAVED BY THE HELL: THE COLLEGE YEARS.
His memories of previous events suppressed, Josh Lambert (Wilson) finds himself divorced from Renai (Rose Byrne) and estranged from his children, especially college bound Dalton (Ty Simpkins). He attempts to heal the rift between him by driving him to college but the road trip ends in another argument and he leaves on bad terms. Due to a misunderstanding, Dalton ends up assigned a female roommate called Chris (Sinclair Daniel) and while the room assignment is sorted out, the two remain friends. In art class, Dalton begins a portrait of a mysterious red door and after some unsettling spectral encounters, Dalton starts practicing astral projection, threatening to open the real Red Door and let The Red Face Demon out again.
While three of the five INSIDIOUS Movies have been good to pretty good (and yes, I enjoyed INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR quite a bit), one of the things which seems to have held them back is a lack of a hook, a coherent nomenclature for the antagonist on which to hang the mythology on. Is it “The Man With the Fire In His Face”? Or “Red Face Demon”? “Lipstick-Face Demon”? Or maybe even “Sixtass”? Whatever it might be, it feels like the failure to settle on a particular brand name for the Meth-tweaked Darth Maul lookalike has held the series back. An iconic look without a name is basically just a meme.
That being said, there’s a lot of fun to be had with the campus-based shenanigans and the chemistry between Daniel’s Chris and Simpkin’s Dalton gives us a fun pairing to watch as they piece together the sinister goings-on as Josh himself starts to uncover his hidden memories and the truth behind his own father’s death.
It’s by no means the scariest horror movie out there, but INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR is an effective demonic possession adventure with a great cast and assured direction from Wilson who handles the creepy and the characterful with aplomb. It also brings the story of The Further to a satisfying conclusion closing the door, literally and metaphorically, on a story which feels like it doesn’t really have anywhere to go. It would be nice, for the Lambert family and the audience, if these demons and this franchise didn’t go any further.