Not much of a sequel or directorial debut.
The first “Insidious” film from 2011 was scary, especially with its title card being loud and freaky. The second film, at least, had one memorable scene. The third was forgettable. The fourth one I skipped. And now, we have “Insidious: The Red Door,” which is also the directorial debut of Patrick Wilson, who plays the father Josh Lambert. It’s far from scary or thought provoking, and it doesn’t really live up to the imagination.
Wilson’s last decent film was “Aquaman,” but he hadn’t been starring in anything good lately. Not “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” not “Moonfall,” but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith in him. I mean, he does some solid work acting when Josh tries to reconnect with his eldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), who is in the college stage. The kind with more of the artist phase than the get-along father-son phase. He blames his old man for not even getting over his old man, whom he never met. And Josh is also divorced from Renai (Rose Byrne), ever since he and his family survived the second film.
The boy has a roommate named Chris (Sinclair Daniel), who is a girl. You know the wisecracker, who can easily straighten out this mix-up. Not that it’s a big deal to Dalton, anyway.
Besides his biggest issue is that he remembers nothing about his childhood coma, and beings painting pictures the demons from his past. But he has no idea who or what they are and why he has to see a vomiting man who tells him to “Close the Door!”
A red door where the evil is hiding, I can assume. It’s the one that he’s been painting in his art class, where his teacher Professor Armagan (Hiam Abbass) has to be the one who hates amateurs. You can tell by the way she tells another student his art looks like a photograph and makes him leave.
But the young man isn’t alone. Josh begins to suffer from the nightmares, and he, too, needs to remember what happened back then. You know when he was possessed. That means both he and Dalton have to return to what is known as the Further.
“Insidious: The Red Door” is too silly to be taken seriously, when we hear Chris’ wisecracks, when frat boys have to dress up as babies, and when certain conversations don’t deliver. It’s too scared to be scary, and even when we do get jump scares, they aren’t interesting or haunting. They’re too derivative.
Wilson and Simpkins are both dependable on their characters, and I was interested to see where they were going, given the circumstances. It’s more interesting than these demons and jump scares. But it isn’t really saying much. If Wilson wants to up his game as an actor by getting a shot in the director’s chair, then he needs to bring something original. He needs to really be committed, and not just assume fans of the franchise will be drawn in to the terror.
I’m pretty sure I’ll see a worse horror film this year than “Insidious: The Red Door,” but I think we can agree the Further should be closed down. Time for another horror house to visit.