by Jack Bottomley
Ever since James Wan’s 2011 supernatural chiller Insidious tiptoed through the tulips to drag us into the spiritual netherworld that is ‘The Further’, we have seen the story go backwards, forwards and sideways, across some bad (Chapter 2), good (Chapter 3) and ok (The Last Key) sequels. But as we head back towards that menacing red door, star-turned-debut-director Patrick Wilson looks to round off the journey in a satisfying way…and he manages it.
Set nine years after the events of the original and its sequel, The Red Door sees the Lambert family somewhat divided, as a now grown up Dalton (Ty Simpkins) heads to college, as his strained relationship with his now divorced dad Josh (Wilson) – who is trying to uncover the result of his foggy memories – is further tested. But, when Dalton is encouraged in an art class to look within himself, he unexpectedly goes knocking in places long since buried, and the Lamberts are face-to-face once again with a terrifying familiar presence.
Insidious: The Red Door is a worthy finale to the series, taking things back to its roots in many ways. Admittedly this sees the film rehashing same old hits in the process, as the final act especially treads a very increasingly familiar foggy path. However its story benefits from the themes it taps into, namely the dark ensnaring power of suppressed grief and our memories (both good and bad).
The art lesson plot hook, which gets us back into The Further was a novel way of doing it, and along the way there are some good set pieces, including a genuinely alarming hospital scan scare and memory game window smash chase. While Darth Maul’s doppelgänger makes a fierce return to the fray, after the series has for years moved somewhat away from him.
Fans will admire the nods, winks and familiar faces that enter this conclusion, and there is a very good new face in Dalton’s campus friend Chris (Sinclair Daniel). The story may suffer from some of the second film’s more convoluted directions, and you can’t help feeling this would perhaps have been a better, more rewarding, experience had this been the first follow up rather than the fourth, but Wilson shows he can conjure (tee hee) some worthwhile bumps in the night as a filmmaker, and it will be interesting to see what he tackles next.
The Red Door may not be the series’ best but it is far far from its worst, and this trip back to The Further with the Lamberts was a good time at the movies, with an unexpected way of getting us back to that Red Door, for one last fright!
Insidious: The Red Door is in cinemas now.