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Review: Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

Directed by: Patrick Wilson

Premise: The fifth film in the Insidious series. Resuming the story of the Lambert family, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and his father (Patrick Wilson) have undergone hypnosis to forget the supernatural events of the first two films. Now a college freshman, Dalton begins to remember and he is haunted by supernatural phenomena.

What Works: The Insidious film series has taken a circuitous route. The first and second movies were the story of the Lambert family and how their son Dalton was haunted by demons existing on an astral plane. The third and fourth Insidious films were set chronologically before the first two and told the backstory of a psychic played by Lin Shaye. The Red Door returns to the Lambert family, picking up the story in the present day. Dalton and his father underwent hypnosis to forget the traumatic experiences of the first two movies and now Dalton is a college student studying art. The first third of The Red Door deals with consequences of repression and that is dramatized well. Dalton’s parents have divorced and father and son don’t get along but no one is able to identify the true source of the tension. Dalton’s artwork breaks through the psychological blocks that hypnosis had put in place and reestablishes his connection to the astral plane, unleashing the supernatural threat. It’s a thoughtful metaphor of the way psychological trauma sifts through people’s lives. The Red Door has some effectively spooky scenes. The filmmakers do an especially good job using framing and focus to build tension with supernatural threats lurking in the background. Also notable is Sinclair Daniel as Dalton’s college roommate. Daniel gives the film some humanity and comedy and she has terrific comic timing.

What Doesn’t: Insidious: The Red Door possesses an interesting concept but the filmmakers are a bit lost about what to do with it. Certain aspects of this film don’t make sense. Some of these flaws are little details such as Dalton arriving at college as a freshman but already familiar with his professors. The mother (Rose Byrne) of the Lambert family is given virtually nothing to do and for some reason she did not undergo hypnosis and so she is put in the position of concealing the truth from her husband and son. The Red Door makes less and less sense as it goes along and the ending is incoherent. The film introduces a lot of elements that aren’t developed such as the reveal that the father of Patrick Wilson’s character had psychic abilities. The conclusion doesn’t fit with the film’s implicit themes about the futility of repression.  

Bottom Line: Insidious: The Red Door introduces a slightly different story to this franchise. The film is adequately scary and has a thoughtful idea but the concept isn’t followed through logically and the latter portion of the movie doesn’t make sense.

Episode: #958 (July 23, 2023)