Plot: What’s it about?
2011’s Insidious took me by surprise. I saw it, wasn’t thinking I’d take much away, but it had some effective imagery and genuine scares. There was even just the right touch of humor to offset the more serious tone. 2013’s sequel failed to do much for me, so I abandoned hope for this series long ago. I can’t speak much of the last two films, or if I have even seen them. I won’t delve into the complexities of the shared universe here, but this latest chapter: Insidious: The Red Door failed to make much of an impact at all. Despite some good jump scares, the series needs to close the door and not look back as this is a rather pedestrian effort.
Making his Directorial debut (as well as starring), Patrick Wilson returns as Josh. He is divorced and trying to bond with his son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) before he heads off to college. There are some fun early moments where Dalton meets his roommate, Chris (Sinclair Daniel) and is surprised to learn that he has been given a female roommate. They are both at a liberal arts college, and Dalton is an Art major. The film spends a lot of time with Dalton and Chris, with Josh popping up sporadically. The Red Door from the film’s subtitle comes into play from a drawing of Dalton’s that is said to be a gateway into the further. That is believed to be a location between Heaven, Earth, and Hell. Really, your best bet is to not think too hard here. We find some moments where Josh seeks therapy to help cope with things in his life, while the other half is devoted to our college students. There are some humorous moments, particularly at a college party, but much of this covers familiar territory, opting for the obvious jump scares we’ve become all too accustomed to. Some did frighten more, but the blaring soundtrack reminds us we’re supposed to jump. They aren’t going for subtlety here.
While there are some nice moments between father and son, and some good jump scares, The Red Door doesn’t try hard enough to create an interesting story or draw us into this world again. There are scenes to be effective, but they’re too sporadic to have much of an impact. Through much of the film, I wondered if Wilson and Co. forgot they were making a horror film. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind as much if the dramatic moments were the least bit interesting. No, what you have is a series that is clearly running on fumes. The film has already become a hit, taking the top reigns at the Box Office as of this writing, but they would be well advised to explore a new angle if we are to get more films of this sort. Skip this and rewatch the original.
The Bottom Line
As I write this review, it makes me want to go back and watch the original film again. That one I quite enjoyed. Being the fifth film in a series they have clearly run out of ideas. Skip this and watch the effective first film instead. This has its moments, but they’re too sporadic to advise sitting through this.