Insidious: The Red Door, the fifth film in the horror franchise, guides viewers back to the Lambert family and where they are nine years following on from the events of the second Insidious film.
Set in the present day, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is now off the art college, dad Josh (Patrick Wilson who also directs in his feature debut) and mum Renai (Rose Byrne) are divorced, and Dalton’s troubled relationship with his father is haunting him, as are growing pains.
Surprisingly for such a late entry in a franchise, director Wilson working from a screenplay written with Scott Teems, doesn’t sleepwalk through lazy tropes and creates a piece of horror that slots in thematically with films like The Shining and Poltergeist. The violence of men, family secrets and dysfunction, the importance of personal elements in art and coming-of-age are brought together neatly and in some cases with viscerally crafted body horror. A vomiting ghost in particular may have you covering not only your eyes but ears as well thanks to effective sound design.
As well as reuniting the original cast members for the film, new characters appear in the form of Dalton’s college roommate, Chris (newcomer Sinclair Daniel) who adds levity to the darkness. Chris perhaps doesn’t get the agency she deserves, but Daniel’s performance is memorable and lively. There’s also Hiam Abbass as a deliciously confrontational art teacher who forces Dalton to face his past through his art, and in doing so he summons up the demons and once again enters ‘The Further.’ Trauma and grief, as oversaturated as they are in modern horror, are handled in startling ways.
Wilson experiments with camera techniques and daylight jump-scares setting a creepy and disturbing tone. Some of the fan service to the franchise feels a bit unnecessary and occasionally breaks the ominous ambience, but with Insidious: The Red Door, Wilson has crafted a supernatural horror with emotional bite.
Insidious: The Red Door is available to buy & rent on digital, Blu-ray and DVD now. Read our interview with star Lin Shaye here.