Insidious: The Red Door Review
After focusing the last two Insidious entries on other characters, Insidious: The Red Door returns to the story where it all began: The Lambert Family. While James Wan helmed the first two films, the next two films, Insidious: Chapter 3 and Insidious: The Last Key, were essentially spin-off films. The franchise seemed to be on life support until word got out that Patrick Wilson would not only be returning to star...but would be making his directorial debut as well with Insidious: The Red Door.
In Insidious: The Red Door, we're re-introduced to the Lambert family nine years after the events of Insidious: Chapter 2. When we last saw father and husband Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson), he was possessed by an evil entity and was going all Jack Torrence on his family. Here we learn that after that incident, Josh and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) decide that the best thing to put it all behind them is to suppress Josh and their son Dalton's (Ty Simpkins) memories so that they never have to worry about "The Further" ever again. But Josh and Dalton learn that the truth can only be concealed for so long before they begin to be haunted once more by their past.
Patrick Wilson does a really decent job of putting all the pieces into place to set up the story and make the audience feel unnerved. The problem comes with his inability to escalate the tension to the proper amount needed to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. Instead of eagerly awaiting the next scare, midway through I found myself quickly losing interest and feeling frustrated by its sluggish pacing. Wilson clearly has learned some tricks from Wan for setting the stage and he does his best to put them to good use here. A few of the lingering shots we see early on are effectively scary while the audience is left trying to decipher what we're actually seeing. One sequence in particular really got me! The problem is, none of it was enough to keep me invested and all of the goodwill that Wilson achieved in the beginning was pretty much squandered by the end.
No doubt that pulling double-duty directing and acting kept Patrick Wilson from having too much screen time here as Ty Simpkins ends up with the majority--but the lack of Father/son scenes really hurt the latter half of the film. We're expected to feel these emotional beats that just don't land. Instead, the film hopes we just rely on the previous entries to fill in the gaps and make us feel affection for the characters. While focusing on Dalton's character is a natural progression for the story and welcome, I still would have liked for his familial relationships to retain focus too. Especially since the ramifications of certain revelations aren't really given any weight at all and need to be!
While it was nice to revisit these characters again, ultimately it feels like maybe The Red Door was better off staying closed. There was certainly potential here, but the execution just couldn't elevate it to the quality of the previous first two installments.