"Insidious: The Red Door" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
I'm honestly not sure what I expected from the seemingly final installment of James Wan's "Insidious" franchise. The series started off strong, presenting two horror films that were able to work back-to-back. From there, however, it started to go downhill and lost its sense of direction, which is evident in the Patrick Wilson starred and directed entry into this horror franchise. I seriously think this might be the most uninspired and dull movie of the series, and it simply didn't entertain or provide the scares necessary for a film of this magnitude. The only scary thing about this movie is how poorly it was made.
It has been many years since the events of the first and second movies, where both Josh Lambert (Wilson) and his son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) have had their memories erased to forget about their traumatic experiences. Now Dalton is moving away to college, and has been estranged from his father ever since his mom Renai (Rose Byrne) divorced him. When a bonding experience in the form of a drive to college goes wrong, the two are more strained than ever.
However, that is when both of them start to experience demonic things happening to them, especially Dalton painting a picture of a red door that he is sure he has never seen. Now, him and his new roommate Chris (Sinclair Daniel) must figure out why these creepy things are happening, and a way for him to reconnect with his father to survive the Lipstick-Face Demon.
My expectations for this film were very low given the not-so-great sequels in this franchise; however, this film was able to still disappoint me. I thought at the bare minimum, this movie would try to craft a good story that can further progress the plot of what they set up in the previous movies. However, it is obvious that they simply don't care anymore. Not only is this film completely unnecessary and doesn't really have a story, but they rub it in your face that its sole purpose is for it to be a cash grab for the studios and everyone involved.
If you have never seen any of the previous installments before, you may genuinely like this movie way more than I did. The reason for that - an hour and twenty of its hour and forty minute runtime is all a recap. They try to manipulate the viewer into feeling shocked for our characters and garner some type of emotional response to something we have already known going into the theater for this one. There are no new shocks, story developments, or reasons for the viewer to feel any emotion whatsoever. It's simply lazy writing, and this is just an example of how poorly written horror movies are becoming in this day and age.
In terms of the horror factor, this movie is far from scary. It decides to throw away everything that truly made the first two films scary and relied on cheap jump scares to try and terrify the audiences. For a solid hour, there is nothing but jump scares in every scene; they don't even further the plot much. The jump scares range from horrible to decent, but even then, it simply doesn't make a movie scary by making their audience act from reflexes. Like I have mentioned before, it's very disappointing due to the fact that James Wan worked so hard on the first movie to really set up this terrifying world for this franchise.
The only saving grace I would say is the last twenty minutes. Wilson actually lets the film rely on its terrifying climate and subtle horror to make the movie scary. This is exactly what Wan envisioned for these movies, and Wilson barely gives us a glimpse of this. Yet, it is sort of ruined by the horrible resolution to the overarching conflict, cheapening the story and what happened to our characters. Also, in a sub-plot that is focused on strained familial relationships and daddy issues, it desperately wants to be this story that is smart and new for a horror movie, but practically fail on almost everything it tries to do.
All in all, this movie is a total misfire on almost every direction. The story is abysmal, the scares are simply not there, and it is honestly a waste of almost two hours. They should have let this franchise die after the fourth one, and they should be ashamed of releasing an unwanted and unneeded cash grab like this.