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At least Patrick Wilson still cares about “ Insidious.” A staple of the James Wan-iverse (he also stars in the “Conjuring” series), Wilson makes his directorial debut with “Insidious: The Red Door.” He also stars in the movie, reprising his role as protective dad Josh Lambert from “ Insidious ” and “Insidious: Chapter Two.” In classic “why the hell not?” deep-franchise style, he also performs a hard-rock number with the Swedish band Ghost over the end credits. (Did you know Patrick Wilson could sing? Neither did I.) 

“The Red Door” is the fifth, and supposedly final, “Insidious” movie. And, with the caveat that you can never trust a horror franchise to end when it says it will end, it does deliver a reasonably satisfying wrap-up to the story of the Lambert family. They’ve been absent from “Insidious” since 2013, when Blumhouse pivoted to focus on Lin Shaye ’s motherly psychic character Elise Rainier in a string of prequels. (Although she died in the second one, she appears here, because again—why not?) And much has happened while the series was away. 

Young Dalton Lambert ( Ty Simpkins ) has grown from a possessed little boy into a brooding 19-year-old art student beginning his first semester of college. His parents, Josh (Wilson) and Renai ( Rose Byrne ), have separated. And his grandmother Lorraine, who played a role in saving Dalton from the evil spirits of The Further, has died. Dalton doesn’t remember his trip into The Further, nor does Josh; the film opens with a scene of the two of them being instructed to forget an entire year of their lives by a hypnotist. 

This is accomplished remarkably quickly—if “The Red Door” was an anti-drug PSA, its tagline would be, “Hypnosis: Not even once.” Counting backward from 10 is all it takes to wipe huge chunks of the Lamberts’ minds clean, and those memories resurface just as easily when Dalton is asked to perform a meditation exercise in his painting class. “The Red Door” plays a little with the trope of artists creating possessed or otherwise supernatural works as seen in horror movies like “The Devil’s Candy.” But most of its runtime is spent exploring something less inspired. 

Here, Josh and Dalton’s gift for astral projection isn’t just a mysterious phenomenon. It’s that old saw of inherited trauma and mental illness that’s been wreaking havoc on horror movies since “ Hereditary .” This manifests in the form of revelations about the father Josh never knew, which overlap with Josh’s guilt and Dalton’s resentment about the divorce. It’s not the most labored use of the metaphor in recent years—that would be another of co-screenwriter Scott Teems ’ credits, the nonsensical “ Halloween Kills .” But it’s such a rote theme at this point that it sucks all of the interest from the family drama.

Callbacks to other “Insidious” films are half-hearted, and “The Red Door” seems to give up on trying to make all of the pieces fit after a while. What does work are a handful of scares in the film’s first half. As a director, Wilson proves himself familiar enough with the mechanics of a jump scare—clearly, he picked up a few things from working with Wan all those years—to give audiences what they want. An early scene where Josh hallucinates a ghastly old woman while trapped inside an MRI machine is especially well done and ties in with a subplot where Josh seeks treatment for persistent fatigue and brain fog. (Long COVID? Nope, The Further!)

However, once the college-centric main plot kicks in, the movie slowly declines toward an underwhelming finale. Visually, Wilson faithfully re-creates the misty look of the previous films. Tiny Tim ’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” warbles in a room full of broken dolls somewhere in the negative space of The Further. This is all fine—as are the jokes, the supporting characters, and the concessions to the film’s PG-13 rating by replacing explicit gore with fake vomit and pancake makeup. Wilson is pretty good as Josh, but that’s to be expected. He’s the one that’s still invested in the whole thing. 

Now playing in theaters. 

Katie Rife

Katie Rife is a freelance writer and critic based in Chicago with a speciality in genre cinema. She worked as the News Editor of  The A.V. Club  from 2014-2019, and as Senior Editor of that site from 2019-2022. She currently writes about film for outlets like  Vulture, Rolling Stone, Indiewire, Polygon , and  RogerEbert.com.

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Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, frightening images, strong language and suggestive references.

107 minutes

Ty Simpkins as Dalton Lambert

Patrick Wilson as Josh Lambert

Rose Byrne as Renai Lambert

Lin Shaye as Elise

Andrew Astor as Foster Lambert

Hiam Abbass

Sinclair Daniel

Peter Dager

Leigh Whannell as Specs

Angus Sampson as Tucker

  • Patrick Wilson

Writer (based on characters created by)

  • Leigh Whannell

Writer (story by)

  • Scott Teems

Cinematographer

  • Autumn Eakin
  • Joseph Bishara

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‘Insidious: The Red Door’ Review: The Ghost of Jump Scares Past

Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut with this fifth installment of the horror franchise haunted by a red-faced demon.

In a film scene, a man sits behind the wheel of a car looking at his phone. Through the rear window of the car a blurry figure can be seen.

By Jason Zinoman

“Insidious,” whose fifth installment opened Friday, is a second-tier horror franchise — it’s not even the best James Wan franchise starring Patrick Wilson, which would be “The Conjuring” — with a few elite jump scares, including one of the best in the genre. In the original in 2010, Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey) is telling her son, Josh (Wilson), about a horrible dream when a red-faced demon suddenly appears behind his head. It’s a magnificent shock because of the askew blocking, the patient misdirection of the editing and Hershey’s committed performance.

In “Insidious: The Red Door,” a grim, workmanlike effort that collapses into woo-woo nonsense, Wilson makes his directorial debut, and demonstrates he grasps the importance of that jump scare, which is sketched in charcoal on paper next to his name in the opening credits. But that reference is also a reminder of what’s missing.

The movie begins nine years after the second “Insidious” at the funeral of Lorraine, and its first scare, a nicely oblique if relatively simple one, once again takes place above her son’s head. Josh’s memory has been scrubbed in the previous film but nags at him, and Wilson doesn’t move the camera from his own face inside a car as he goes through an array of emotions while texting his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins). This prickly relationship is at the center of the movie, as dad drives his son to college. They share the family curse, a habit of being visited by evil figures from another realm called the Further (think the Upside Down from “Stranger Things” ).

As has become cliché, trauma takes center stage, with characters mouthing lines like, “We need to remember even the things that hurt” — which is at least better than pretentious small talk like “Death floods the mind with memory.”

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Insidious: The Red Door Reviews

movie review insidious the red door

While the rate of scares still isn’t as consistent, it’s important to remember that “Insidious: The Red Door” is less your traditional horror fare than a tragic tale of the consequences of compartmentalizing trauma.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5 | Jul 9, 2024

movie review insidious the red door

it’s all down to Wilson and Simpkins who bring a wealth of onscreen history together to a father/son story that culminates in a deceptively simple resolution that tugs mightily at the heartstrings. Yes, it’s a trauma movie, but it’s one of the good ones.

Full Review | Jul 3, 2024

movie review insidious the red door

It still feels like a satisfying conclusion to a series of films that have continuously terrified us for over a decade. That alone is worth remembering.

Full Review | Original Score: B- | Mar 6, 2024

movie review insidious the red door

Similar to Wan’s The Conjuring universe, Insidious has long overstayed its welcome, reaching the point where its spark has quelled and there’s nothing interesting buried within these characters anymore. We have reached the end of the Further.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5 | Nov 17, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

The set-up was great, but the Insidious series has lost a lot of its luster.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4 | Nov 11, 2023

Lamentably, this unusual study of family trauma and memory loss gradually loses its shine and capacity to scare. [Full review in Spanish]

Full Review | Oct 5, 2023

The fact The Red Door works best as a family drama rather than a terrifying scare-fest -- to the extent that when the finale takes another trip into the Further is almost feels tacked on -- tells you it’s time to close the door on the franchise.

Full Review | Aug 24, 2023

This latest anemic attempt at a creepy film is tripped up by a fragmented story and lackluster efforts to pass off things that jump out of the dark to an amped up musical track as being scary.

Full Review | Original Score: D | Aug 9, 2023

Earlier franchise chapters featured a few smirkworthy scares and some stylish filmmaking flourishes, but The Red Door is merely an inert, boring drag.

Full Review | Aug 8, 2023

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Aug 4, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

Wilson makes his directorial debut with this film that is nice enough in an anaemic way.

Full Review | Aug 3, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

Insidious: The Red Door doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessors. It tantalizes us with a few effective scares, but its pacing and character development fall short.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Aug 2, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

Patrick Wilson lands some cool shots and Hiam Abass is a welcome reprieve to predictable storylines and tropes. There is a tangible gap in what might have been achieved if the red door opened through expectations.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Aug 1, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

Akin to Child's Play 3, Insidious: The Red Door sees grown-up protagonists facing old fears. Despite some flat moments, it's an interesting final chapter.

movie review insidious the red door

Patrick Wilson shows some promise for directing and delivers some genuinely well-crafted scares. Unfortunately, the story that spends most of its runtime uncovering events the audience already knows just shows the franchise shouln't have gone further.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.75/5 | Jul 27, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

A disappointing entry that, sadly, spends more time recapping the previous films instead of carving its own path.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10 | Jul 24, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

Insidious: The Red Door plays it safe and takes it a bit too slow, but it's good performances and nostalgic scares make it worth the viewing.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Jul 24, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

This isn't a meaningful exploration of trauma's lingering impact, the current genre go-to, as much as it wants to be.

Full Review | Jul 22, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

The fifth Insidious movie starts strong, with fresh character touches and chilling, eerily quiet moments, but it eventually suffers from a sequel's usual diminishing returns.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5 | Jul 21, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

While not as good as some of the film in the Insidious franchise this does more than enough to suggest that Patrick Wilson has what it takes to be a decent genre director.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/5 | Jul 21, 2023

movie review insidious the red door

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

Insidious: The Red Door

Lin Shaye, Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, and Ty Simpkins in Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

The Lamberts must go deeper into The Further than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all. The Lamberts must go deeper into The Further than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all. The Lamberts must go deeper into The Further than ever before to put their demons to rest once and for all.

  • Patrick Wilson
  • Leigh Whannell
  • Scott Teems
  • Ty Simpkins
  • 455 User reviews
  • 132 Critic reviews
  • 45 Metascore
  • 2 nominations

Final Trailer

Top cast 34

Ty Simpkins

  • Dalton Lambert

Patrick Wilson

  • Josh Lambert

Rose Byrne

  • Renai Lambert

Sinclair Daniel

  • Chris Winslow

Hiam Abbass

  • Professor Armagan

Andrew Astor

  • Foster Lambert

Juliana Davies

  • Kali Lambert

Steve Coulter

  • Nick the Dick

Justin Sturgis

  • Alec Anderson

Joseph Bishara

  • Lipstick Demon

David Call

  • Smash Face …

Stephen Gray

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Leigh Whannell

  • Elise Rainier

Bridget Kim

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Insidious: The Last Key

Did you know

  • Trivia Patrick Wilson 's directorial debut.
  • Goofs When Daltons dorm loses power, his fan is still running on the dresser.
  • Crazy credits At the conclusion of the credits, we see a flickering light, illuminating the now blackened door.
  • Connections Featured in Half in the Bag: 2023 Catch-up (Part 1) (2023)
  • Soundtracks Roll with the Changes Written by Kevin Cronin Performed by REO Speedwagon Courtesy of Mojo Music & Media

User reviews 455

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  • How long is Insidious: The Red Door? Powered by Alexa
  • July 7, 2023 (United States)
  • United States
  • Insidious 5
  • Morristown, New Jersey, USA
  • Blumhouse Productions
  • Screen Gems
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $16,000,000 (estimated)
  • $82,156,962
  • $33,013,036
  • Jul 9, 2023
  • $189,086,877

Technical specs

  • Runtime 1 hour 47 minutes
  • Dolby Digital

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It might sound weird to read a review where the critic talks about how the first Insidious film was one of the first true horror movies they ever sat down and watched, yet that's exactly how this review is going to start.

The Insidious franchise has always felt like the perfect gateway for burgeoning horror fans. Even with their PG-13 ratings, the first two films, and even the third film, can get pretty damn scary with their clever uses of tension, jump scares, and worldbuilding. The first two installments delivered some solid scares while also telling a surprisingly compelling story about a family being haunted by demonic forces. The third film decided to go the prequel route and even found some success in doing so by putting the spotlight on Lin Shaye 's Elise Rainer. However, much of the franchise's reputation was hindered by a near-disastrous fourth entry with The Last Key .

Insidious: The Red Door opts to move the story of the first two films forward, with franchise vets Patrick Wilson , Rose Byrne , and Ty Simpkins all reprising their roles, plus Wilson taking over the directorial reins in his feature directorial debut. The film opens nine years after the events of Insidious: Chapter 2 with Josh and Dalton Lambert (Wilson & Simpkins) having no memory of the horrific events that transpired nearly a decade ago. Josh has since divorced Renai (Byrne) and has a tumultuous relationship with Dalton who's getting ready to go off to college. Following a death in the family, Renai suggests that Josh drop Dalton off at school to which the father and son reluctantly agree. After a heated argument, both Josh and Dalton's memories of their haunted pasts begin to terrorize them, causing each to seek out the truth.

RELATED: Why Patrick Wilson Made His Directorial Debut with 'Insidious' Rather Than 'The Conjuring'

'Insidious: The Red Door' Feels Different From Previous Installments

Josh Lambert driving with a possessed Dalton behind him

One aspect that jumps out immediately about Insidious: The Red Doo r is just how different a director Patrick Wilson is compared to Wan, Leigh Whannell , and Adam Robitel . The aesthetic feels different, and even the mood does as well. The first two installments had a lingering sense of dread looming over them and, while you do feel that at times with The Red Door , the film also manages to use some of its runtime to delve into family drama as well as Dalton bonding with his new college friend Chris ( Sinclair Daniel ). Some of it works, and fans will likely find themselves rooting for Renai and Josh to get back together and put their tragic past behind them, while some of it just felt unnecessary and tacked on, including Dalton and Chris going to war with the douchey frat guy Nick ( Peter Dager ). That's not to say that a film like this can't have some moments of levity and laughter, but some moments feel like they're ripped out of a mid-2000s college comedy rather than a horror movie. As a result, they just feel jarring.

That being said, Wilson does show quite a bit of promise as a filmmaker from the way he can deliver some effective scares while also creating moments that will be sure to have audience members clenching their armrests. Even with the unnecessary subplots that are thrown in, The Red Door flows at a pretty brisk pace, with the film almost working better as an epilogue rather than some world-shattering finale that will forever change the way you look at the franchise.

The screenplay itself, written by rising genre scribe Scott Teems , at times doesn't know how to truly balance all the story elements together. There are attempts at creating fan service moments that allude to previous installments, but it also never seems fully interested in exploring the world of The Further in a new light. It's Wilson's direction that ultimately helps the film stand out a bit more, proving that he has a firm grasp on what works about the franchise while also telling a story that feels personal.

'Insidious: The Red Door' Isn't Too Scary and That's OK

Patrick Wilson as Josh Lambert in Insidious: The Red Door

Insidious: The Red Door also dials it a bit back on the jump scares. While there are still a handful of moments that will shake the auditorium, there's nothing as notable as that infamous Lipstick-Face Demon scare in the 2011 film. However, the new installment manages to find other ways to get under the audience's skin, including one sequence that occurs within the first ten minutes involving Josh sitting in his car, texting Dalton, unaware of what's going on behind him. The audience won't feel as uncomfortable as they might have with previous entries, but fans of the films will be able to still be able to find a way to care because they've become attached to these characters. Even with a supposed grand finale that ends with more of a whimper than a bang, The Red Door still oddly feels like a satisfying conclusion to this story, and a lot of that might be because of the Lambert family.

Simpkins and Wilson take on the leading roles this time around with the latter turning another solid turn as the now divorced Josh. Simpkins is decent enough as well, but his character never really feels like a captivating protagonist. Instead, he's just kind of there. Byrne has very little to do compared to what she's been given in the past, only showing up in the first and third acts, but is still a more than welcome presence on screen. Hiam Abbass feels wasted in her role as Dalton's strict art professor, ultimately feeling like a side note once the credits start to roll.

Insidious: The Red Door might not be the scariest installment in the franchise, but it feels a lot more human than the others before it. The character moments end up feeling more effective than some of the film's big set-pieces and, while that may bug some genre purists, those who have stuck around since the first film released over 10 years ago will be pleased.

Insidious: The Red Door is now playing in theaters.

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‘insidious: the red door’ review: patrick wilson directs a desultory entry in the hit franchise.

Wilson helms and stars in this fifth installment, a sequel to 2013's 'Insidious: Chapter 2.'

By Frank Scheck

Frank Scheck

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Insidious: The Red Door

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But things are not okay for the emotionally adrift Josh, who’s mourning the loss of his marriage, and his teenage son Dalton (Ty Simpkins, reprising his role from the first two films), with whom he has a strained relationship. In an effort to patch things up, Josh — who along with Dalton has had his horrific memories of his past experiences repressed by a handy dose of hypnotherapy — offers to drive his son to college, where he’s beginning his freshman year.

It doesn’t go well, with the sullen teenager resistant to his father’s attempts at camaraderie, which include encouraging him to attend a frat party. Things improve marginally, for both Dalton and the film, with the arrival of Chris (Sinclair Daniel), a wittily lively young woman who’s been mistakenly assigned to be his roommate. She becomes Dalton’s friend and confidant, which is no easy task because he doesn’t exactly have a sparkling personality.

Scott Teems’ screenplay, based on a story by him and series co-creator Leigh Whannell (who returns for a cameo as the geeky Specs), attempts to infuse the spooky proceedings with drama revolving around Josh’s lingering guilt and revelations about the father he never knew, who’s now apparently haunting him. But none of it has much impact, despite Wilson’s best efforts to provide character-driven texture.

Series fans will enjoy the reappearances of many characters from the other films, including Lin Shaye ’s psychic (she died in a previous installment, but death is no impediment to cameos in films like this), although it’s unfortunate that the always-welcome Byrne is relegated to a minor role. Even Wilson receives less screen time than Simpkins, who is forced to carry the film despite the burden of his character being a real bummer. Fortunately, there’s Daniel, who provides some much-needed comic juice to the otherwise desultory goings-on, and Hiam Abbass ( Succession ), projecting her usual authority as Dalton’s art professor.

Patrick Wilson fans familiar with his terrific musical theater turns in such Broadway shows as The Full Monty and Oklahoma! will want to stick around for the end credits, featuring his vocals on a heavy metal song with the Swedish rock band Ghost.

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Review: ‘Insidious: The Red Door’ is sometimes unnerving, but even evil has an expiration date

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Director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell have had a massive impact on modern horror movies, not once, but twice: first with 2004’s “ Saw ,” which set off a wave of torture-heavy splatter films; and then with the atmospheric 2010 film “ Insidious ,” a crafty tale of paranormal intrusion. Over the last decade, “Insidious” has proved especially influential, inspiring dozens of movies about haunted objects, creepy kids and grizzled paranormal investigators — all of them filled with slow-mounting tension and assaultive jump-scares, many of them spawning entire universes of sequels, prequels and spinoffs.

“Insidious: The Red Door” is the fifth film in its series, and it seems at times like a conscious effort to remind everyone who’s the genre’s big boss. Wan isn’t involved this time, but Whannell co-wrote the story with the movie’s credited screenwriter Scott Teems, while Patrick Wilson — the star of the original “Insidious” and the costar of this one — makes his directorial debut. This team has produced something that maybe relies too much on the same old tricks, but which is often genuinely terrifying.

Wilson once again plays Josh Lambert, who in the first two films discovered that he and his son Dalton ( Ty Simpkins ) have the ability to leave their bodies via astral projection, thanks to their connection to a purgatorial dimension dubbed the Further, filled with unsettled ghosts and vicious demons who intend to use the Lamberts to help them drain the vitality from living humans. The third and fourth “Insidious” films were prequels that only mentioned the Lamberts in passing; but “The Red Door” follows directly from “ Insidious: Chapter Two ,” which ended with Josh and Dalton being hypnotized to suppress all their memories of the Further.

That cure has turned out to be a curse. Nine years later, severed from an essential part of themselves and their shared pasts, Josh and Dalton have become estranged from each other; and Josh is also now divorced from Dalton’s mother, Renai ( Rose Byrne ). But when Dalton leaves home to study painting at college, his favorite professor ( Hiam Abbass ) encourages him to tap into his subconscious, which begins to unlock his powers. At the same time, Josh starts digging into his own past to figure out why he’s such a jerk to the people he loves. The answers shock him — and awaken him, too.

A man holds a lantern in a dark room

Anyone who’s seen an “Insidious” movie before (or any of the “Insidious” knockoffs) knows what comes next. Both Josh and Dalton have their daily lives disrupted by visions of rotting corpses creeping toward them and making demands. From behind the camera, Wilson handles the visual grammar of all this well, though there’s no reason why he shouldn’t. He’s following a well-established blueprint. Wan (and later Whannell, when he directed the third film) perfected the art of weaponizing negative space on the screen, keeping the audience constantly on edge by threatening to fill the blurry areas around the heroes’ heads with something monstrous.

That trick still works like gangbusters, and “The Red Door” features several sequences that are “watch through your fingers while slumped down in your seat”-level scary. (A scene where Josh is playing a game of Concentration with pictures taped to his living room window while an evil spirit slowly approaches undetected is almost unbearably intense.) Having two main characters suffering from hauntings separately works against this movie’s narrative momentum, but it does allow Wilson and Teems to bounce from scare to scare, without much setup — or respite.

“The Red Door” isn’t as good as the first “Insidious,” and may actually fall short of several of the “Insidious” clones. But it’s no impersonal bit of brand extension. There’s a strong idea here about how important it is for an artist — any fully alive human being, really — to confront past traumas instead of blocking them out. Granted, the Lambert boys have to face their fears or there’ll be no horror movie. But the point is still well-taken.

“Insidious: The Red Door”

Rated: PG-13, for violence, terror, frightening images, strong language and suggestive references.

Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Playing: In general release

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Insidious: the red door, common sense media reviewers.

movie review insidious the red door

Fifth in ghost franchise underwhelms; violence, language.

Insidious: The Red Door Movie Poster: Josh (Patrick Wilson), Dalton (Ty Simpkins, holding a lantern), Renai (Rose Byrne), and Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) stand in a hallway with a red door at the far end

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

The lesson seems to be that "forgetting doesn't wo

Characters are good and likable, but they're also

The five members of the Lambert family are White,

Jump scares. Moments of peril and panic. Possessed

Brief fake kissing, meant as a distraction. Sex-re

A use of "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t," "t-tti

Drinking at a frat party. Ghost of someone said to

Parents need to know that Insidious: The Red Door -- the fifth movie in the Insidious horror franchise -- is the direct sequel to Insidious: Chapter 2 , exploring the hypnotism and memory suppression conducted on Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his now teen son Dalton (Ty Simpkins). Violence…

Positive Messages

The lesson seems to be that "forgetting doesn't work; we need to remember, even the things that hurt." Admitting and accepting their pain eventually leads characters to what could be a reconciliation for the family.

Positive Role Models

Characters are good and likable, but they're also largely troubled people who are struggling to get by and are victimized by evil forces.

Diverse Representations

The five members of the Lambert family are White, and the focus is on two men. At Dalton's school, his best friend, Chris (Sinclair Daniel), is Black, and his instructor, Professor Armagan, is played by Palestinian actor Hiam Abbass. Both women are strong and have agency. Black actor E. Roger Mitchell appears as a doctor; many other people of color appear in small roles or in background. Closing credits claim that the movie was made by a diverse cast and crew. A sequence at a frat party includes a White male student giving a speech that borders on hate; it's not received well.

Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.

Violence & Scariness

Jump scares. Moments of peril and panic. Possessed characters stalk and threaten other characters. Woman is choked by ghost, passes out, revived by CPR. Woman thrown against wall. Woman thrown to ground. Ghost jumps through window, chases character through house. Ghost shoves character into a closet, knocks down clothes rod. Characters grabbed by arms, throats. Creepy figures lurk in background. Demonic figures. Blood (handprints, smears, etc.) and/or oozing liquids. Ghost vomits on character's face. A character from the previous movies dies, and others attend the funeral, where death is discussed. Reference to a character dying by suicide. Creepy drawings and artwork.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.

Sex, Romance & Nudity

Brief fake kissing, meant as a distraction. Sex-related dialogue/innuendo ("slap your salami," "crusty sheets," "we were gonna do it," "I left my brassiere in Nick's room," etc.). A character grabs and drops a box of condoms. Possible nude drawing hangs on wall of art class, seen briefly.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

A use of "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t," "t-tties," "goddamn," "ass," "bitch," "hell," "d--k," "damn," "peckerwood," "freakin'," "butt," "crapper." Exclamatory use of "oh God."

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at a frat party. Ghost of someone said to have died at a previous party is seen vomiting in toilet.

Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Insidious: The Red Door -- the fifth movie in the Insidious horror franchise -- is the direct sequel to Insidious: Chapter 2 , exploring the hypnotism and memory suppression conducted on Josh ( Patrick Wilson ) and his now teen son Dalton (Ty Simpkins). Violence includes jump scares, ghost attacks, moments of peril and panic, stalking, threatening, a woman being choked by a ghost, women thrown to the floor or against a wall, arms and throats grabbed, creepy figures, blood, vomit, other oozing liquids, and more. There are also a few instances of sex-related dialogue or innuendo, and a character is shown grabbing a box of condoms. Language includes a use of "f--k," plus a few uses of "s--t," "t-tties," "goddamn," "ass," "bitch," "hell," "d--k," and other words. Teens drink at a frat party, and the ghost of a teen who drank too much vomits into a toilet. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .

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The cast of Insidious: The Red Door standing in front of a red door

Community Reviews

  • Parents say (4)
  • Kids say (6)

Based on 4 parent reviews

Such a great addition to the franchise.

What's the story.

In INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, it's been nine years since the events of Insidious: Chapter 2 , in which young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and his father, Josh ( Patrick Wilson ), had hypnosis to suppress the memories of their horrific experiences. Dalton has become a sullen teen who's about to head off to art school. And Josh has felt "foggy" ever since the hypnotism, his marriage to Renai ( Rose Byrne ) falling apart and his relationship with Dalton deteriorating. In school, Dalton's art professor ( Hiam Abbass ) encourages him to dig deep for inspiration, and some of the old terrifying entities begin to make themselves known again. With the help of his new college friend Chris (Sinclair Daniel), Dalton discovers that he can "astral project" and starts looking for answers. But, unfortunately, he goes a bit too far, and both father and son wind up inside The Further once more.

Is It Any Good?

The fifth Insidious movie starts strong, with fresh character touches and chilling, eerily quiet moments, but it eventually suffers from a sequel's usual diminishing returns. Making his debut as director, star Wilson brings Insidious: The Red Door back to the Lambert family, whom we last saw in Insidious: Chapter 2 . ( Insidious: Chapter 3 and Insidious: The Last Key were both prequels.) As an actor, Wilson seems interested in the movie's characters and their relationships, which are strained both by their horrific pasts and their suppressed memories. He also has a few nifty ideas for creeping scares, such as one in which he sits in the cab of his truck, or when he plays a "memory game" in his living room, or -- most nail-bitingly -- gets stuck inside an MRI machine. And the addition of Dalton's friend Chris is a delightful burst of silly energy.

But as Dalton and Josh spend more time apart and the plot gets rolling, it starts to feel overly familiar -- and more than a little tired. Even The Further seems far less terrifying than it once did. Wilson's directing career could be promising, but Insidious: The Red Door is a sign that maybe this franchise should close up.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

Families can talk about Insidious: The Red Door 's violence . How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?

How scary is the movie? What's the appeal of horror movies ?

Do you agree with Dalton when he says that "forgetting doesn't work; we need to remember, even the things that hurt." Why, or why not?

What's the nature of the father-son relationship in this movie? How does it compare to your real-life relationships?

How does this film compare to the four previous movies in the Insidious series?

Movie Details

  • In theaters : July 7, 2023
  • On DVD or streaming : August 1, 2023
  • Cast : Ty Simpkins , Patrick Wilson , Sinclair Daniel
  • Director : Patrick Wilson
  • Inclusion Information : Female actors, Black actors
  • Studios : Screen Gems , Stage 6 Films
  • Genre : Horror
  • Topics : Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
  • Run time : 107 minutes
  • MPAA rating : PG-13
  • MPAA explanation : violence, terror, frightening images, strong language and suggestive references
  • Last updated : December 6, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

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Insidious: The Red Door

Insidious: The Red Door

Where to watch.

Apple TV

Images & Screenshots

In Insidious: The Red Door, the horror franchise’s original cast returns for the final chapter of the Lambert family’s terrifying saga. To put their demons to rest once and for all, Josh (Patrick Wilson, also making his directorial debut) and a college-aged Dalton (Ty Simpkins) must go deeper into The Further than ever before, facing their family’s dark past and a host of new and more horrifying terrors that lurk behind the red door. Insidious: The Red Door Opens July 7th.

Insidious: The Red Door Review

Tom Jorgensen Avatar Avatar

Insidious: The Red Door Review

Insidious: The Red Door

07 Jul 2023

Insidious: The Red Door

After two prequels, the  Insidious  series returns to the family where it began, the Lamberts, because no good monster ever stays dead. Franchise star Patrick Wilson turns director here and does as good a job as you’d hope with the character beats of these tortured souls. But he never hits the heights of terror that the franchise is capable of – perhaps his closeness to the character preventing him from really twisting the knife.

Insidious: The Red Door

As we rejoin the Lamberts, we’re reminded that son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and father Josh (Wilson) had their memories wiped nine years ago, so they would never again be tempted to astral-project into “The Further” and leave their bodies vulnerable to possession by dark forces. Now Dalton is an artist just starting at a college with worryingly dim lighting and unreliable power – uh oh.  When he follows a charismatic teacher's instructions to go deep into his subconscious, he discovers memories of a strange door that threaten to destabilise his mental health. Across the country, Josh is experiencing his own nightmares, and will have to delve into his own past to confront this new threat.

While there are a few effective gross-out moments and creeping scares, they’re largely unoriginal.

Wilson picked a franchise he knows well for his directorial debut, and he and Simpkins have a convincingly thorny but loving dynamic, as he does with Rose Byrne as his now-ex-wife Renai. He also finds comic beats to leaven the scares, particularly in some amusingly lame frat party scenes. There he has an ally in Dalton's college friend Chris (Sinclair Daniel), who is a breath of fresh air even if she implausibly sticks around through some outrageously creepy behaviour.

The problem is the choppy storytelling. You’ll need to remember the first two films for any real explanation of the threat here, or how to beat it. Going into the finale, there’s only a woolly sense of what needs to be done and what exactly is tormenting our heroes, which can’t help but puncture the menace. The pace is very much a slow burn, until a sudden rush to the finish, and while there are a few effective gross-out moments and creeping scares, they’re largely unoriginal. Wilson’s debut is no disaster, but he’ll need to sharpen his talons if he wants to make his mark on the horror pantheon behind the camera as well as in front.

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'Insidious: The Red Door' review: A fine final chapter to close The Further

Patrick Wilson holds up a lantern in "Insidious: The Red Door."

Thirteen years ago, James Wan's Insidious hit theater screens — making them more like theater screams , am I right? That film, which told the tale of the Lambert family and their comatose son whose consciousness wandered off into a bad, bad place called "The Further," certainly did get audiences screaming. It was a huge hit, spawning a full-throated franchise that, along with Paranormal Activity , cemented Blumhouse as the '00s reigning studio of terror. This freaky film series comes full circle with the fifth entry, titled Insidious: The Red Door . 

Lambert patriarch Patrick Wilson makes his directorial debut here, returning to the story threads that were left dangling two full franchise entries ago, at the end of 2013's Insidious: Chapter 2 . Where the third and fourth films focused on events pre-dating the family's Further woes, The Red Door swings the Lamberts into the present, bringing back all the old familiar faces, red devil and Rose Byrne alike. Wilson does his damndest to pry a few more screams out of us. So, is The Red Door worth opening? 

Kinda! It shouldn't surprise anyone that having an actor sitting in the director's chair this time focuses this movie more on the intricacies of character dynamics and performance than on the jump scares that Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell favored. All of that is actually to the movie's ultimate benefit, but I'm not positive that horror hounds looking for huge scares will see it that way. Which is to say that Insidious: The Red Door does bring the Lamberts' story around to a satisfying emotional close, but the frights themselves feel a little been-there, already-bought-the-T-shirt. 

Where do we enter Insidious: The Red Door ?

Patrick Wilson sits in a car in "Insidious: The Red Door."

The film opens, as such stories must, in a cemetery. Nine years have passed since we last saw the Lamberts, and we find ourselves attending the funeral of grandma Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), who determinedly took her last batch of bad secrets to the grave with her. But no worries – those secrets will all claw their way out of the grave before the final reel, leaving jagged red scratches up and down everybody as they do their dirty business. 

When we left the Lamberts, papa Josh (Wilson), mama Renai (Byrne), eldest and coma-prone son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and, oh right, the other two kids were participating in a mutually agreed upon cover-up. Everybody decided that it would be best if Josh and Dalton, who shared the ability to astrally project themselves into that misty blue underworld full of souls and spooks dubbed The Further, got their memories suppressed. Put the entire nasty ordeal to bed, because that's always the best route when it comes to horror stories. That's not the literal definition of "a haunting" at all or anything! 

Sure enough, this tactic has backfired, causing a full familial disaster. Josh and Renai have divorced as he's methodically become a foggy shell of his former self. Awash in depersonalization and derealization, Josh is feeling a big fat heap of nothing. It's like he's observing his life from above, but without the fun former superpower stuff that comes along with astral projection. He's just a ghost whose grave hasn't been dug yet.

Dalton, about to head off to arts college, is faring a little better. Where "angsty teen" ends and "hollowed-out husk" begins can be a nebulous place, but he thankfully seems to be leaning toward the former. However, the goth-tinged nightmare art, which he compulsively draws and paints, keeps poking at wounds he doesn't really understand. Recurring images of creepy faces and doorways keep bubbling up from somewhere. Dalton contends his portrait of his just-passed grandmother, for instance, seems full of secrets. But like his father, it all feels disassociated and vague. They're simply unsettled and unsure of why. (Relatable, these days!)

And director Wilson, alongside screenwriter Scott Teems ( Halloween Kills ), does seem genuinely interested in digging around in these feelings and failings. Insidious: The Red Door , like all of the most effective hauntings, is at its best when it's a family drama where the ghosts fill in the vacuum where the character's shortcomings don't reach. It even handles its metaphorical spectres of mental illness, with fears of genetically inherited disorders like schizophrenia coming into play, carefully and respectfully...while also making big red demons pop out of doorways! That's a hell of a needle to thread, but The Red Door does as good a job as any. 

But just what of all those Insidious demons and devil brides?

Ty Simpkins holds a lantern in "Insidious: The Red Door."

Once ensconced at college, Dalton's art professor (a shamefully under-used Hiam Abbass ) enthusiastically presses the artist and young man to dig deeper – to really splash his canvas with his most primordial ooze, as it were. Unfortunately for the Lamberts, and especially for Dalton's brand new spark plug of a college roomie named Chris (Sinclair Daniel), all of that artistic unearthing cracks open the thought-better-buried past. And before you know it, there are Sixth Sense -esque ghosts puking in the bathrooms of frat parties, and an entire dance troupe of mud monsters performing a writhing Paula-Abdul-esque music video on the dorm room linoleum – a brief flash of camp that's played far too straight for its own good.

In case it wasn't clear there, I've personally always found the monsters of the Insidious universe a bit on the silly and unscary side. They're all great Halloween costumes, for sure, but they're art-directed to hell and back, with their Victorian doll dresses and their greasepaint ventriloquist's-puppet eye makeup, oh my. Wilson's team does thankfully dial down a lot of Wan's tendencies in that department. His monsters are much grimier, and there's a terrific set piece that takes place inside of a claustrophobic MRI tube, harkening back to the medical fears of the first film (not to mention that granddaddy of them all, The Exorcist , whose scariest scenes have always been the hospital tests). 

But for the most part, the scares here are largely forgettable. There are no images that will sear themselves into the permanent horror consciousness like that one Wan concocted in the first film with the demon's face appearing just over Wilson's shoulder. (That iconic moment gets redrawn here alongside the director's name during The Red Door 's gorgeous opening credits sequence, which showcase Dalton's artistic skills while doubling as a charcoal recap of the first two film's events.) 

The performances from the Lambert men are ultimately where it's at.

Patrick Wilson directs Ty Simpkins in "Insidious: The Red Door."

While it's always a pleasure to see Rose Byrne, anywhere and any time, Renai is woefully sidelined for the majority of Insidious: The Red Door . One hopes they paid her extremely well to show up and sit on a couch and watch Patrick Wilson toss and turn while wandering into the Further this one last time. However, as the franchise lays Barbara Hershey's matron to rest with its opening frames, it would seem it symbolically has had enough of blaming the mother. Instead, this is very much a film about father and son relationships, and the bad mojo that those can pass down the line like a football. 

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Wilson does some of his best acting work to date here, certainly his best in this franchise. (But then he had a director who really believed in him.) The sense of grief and loss he communicates in the opening passages of the film – not so much for his mother specifically, but for his inability to feel what he wants to be feeling – is palpable. He really makes Josh's confusion and lethargy suffusive; we feel we're smothering too. And so when things begin to snap into place and make sense again, we're right there with him.

The stand-out, though, is Simpkins. Returning to the role he's spent a full half of his life to date inhabiting, Simpkins proves he's got the talent to carry himself out of and beyond the cute kid roles he was playing in blockbuster pablum like Jurassic World . (But he also had a director who believed in him here; him and Wilson have been working together since Little Children, when Simpkins was five.) Simpkins is given the space to make Dalton a mass of contradictions – moody but decent, talented but blundering teenage-stupid – and find us a charming throughline that makes this final trip into the Further feel like one of worth.

In the end, Insidious: The Red Door closes up its own loop satisfactorily, if somewhat sappily. Lin Shaye's medium-with-the-mostest Elise even gets to make a tastefully scarfed reappearance. But then the Wan-iverse has always been prone to a fair dose of sap. At least for all its vague afterlife jibber jabber, the Insidious movies have remained true to their atheistic origins. There's no Christian charlatans a la The Conjuring , where those fraudsters Ed and Lorraine Warren get celebrated. (Although, weirdly enough, Wilson also appears as Ed Warren in the Conjuring/Wan-iverse flicks, including The Nun and Annabelle Comes Home .)

Insidious thankfully stays true to its mission statement, one of life and death being a marathon race of good ol' family bullshit ripping a hole through the fabric of reality so our parent's demons can nibble on our toes. We wouldn't want it any other way.

Insidious: The Red Door is now in theaters.

Topics Film

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Jason Adams is a freelance entertainment writer at Mashable. He lives in New York City and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic who also writes for Pajiba, The Film Experience, AwardsWatch, and his own personal site My New Plaid Pants. He's extensively covered several film festivals including Sundance, Toronto, New York, SXSW, Fantasia, and Tribeca. He's a member of the LGBTQ critics guild GALECA. He loves slasher movies and Fassbinder and you can follow him on Twitter at @JAMNPP.

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Insidious: The Red Door is the scariest movie of the summer. While that might not seem like much, considering there have not been as many high-profile horror films so far in summer 2023, it is still a scary good time at the movies for audiences looking for a break from action spectacle. The Insidious franchise is back and better than ever. It, alongside Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and No Hard Feelings , also shows that Sony Pictures is truly taking chances and risks on a wide variety of films for the summer movie season, and it is paying off for them.

The first Insidious was a surprise hit with critics and audiences when it premiered in 2011. The movie, along with the previously released Paranormal Activity franchise, redefined the modern haunting film and helped usher in a new era of supernatural atmospheric horror. It spawned a popular franchise that included one direct sequel and two prequel films. The fifth film in the series, Insidious: The Red Door , is essentially the real Insidious 3 ( Insidious: Chapter 3 itself was actually a prequel to the previous two films) as this film directly follows the events of the first two entries, taking place ten years after the events of Insidious Chapter 2 .

Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) and Reani Lambert (Rose Byrne) have now separated, and their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) has now grown and is getting ready to go to college. Due to both Dalton and Josh having had their memories of the previous films wiped from their mind, a gap has been growing between them.

Yet as Dalton begins college, the events of the first two films he has repressed start to come to the surface and begin to haunt both him and his father. The two must return to the dark dimension known as The Further and put an end to an evil that has been haunting their family for longer than even they knew.

A Haunting Where the Drama Is Front and Center

Dalton frorm Insidious

Underneath all the paranormal elements and supernatural haunts, this is a relatable human story about the riff that forms between parent and child as one grows up. The supernatural elements are all seasoning for a story that is all too real for many, as a parent and child find themselves going through as time goes on. Josh and Dalton have grown apart due to the divorce and the multiple repressions fogging up Josh's mind to where he has become distant from everyone. The horror elements are rooted in tangible anxieties the audience can relate to.

It also adds the subtext of repressed trauma, forming a major riff between individuals. While the previous Insidious movies argued that it was best to put these terrible memories in the past and forget them, Insidious: The Red Door builds off that to acknowledge the toxic nature of the thought process.

In the ten years that have passed since the release of Insidious: Chapter 2 , a wider discussion about mental health has begun to take form. This long-awaited sequel justifies its existence by being in conversation with the original films. Instead of repressing terrible memories, it is better to acknowledge them and move forward.

Related: Insidious: Every Type of Demon in the Movies, Explained

Time has been the ultimate benefit of this movie. It also now arrives as the audience who likely saw the first two Insidious movies (which likely was rather young since they were rated PG-13) now are old enough to be close to Dalton's age in the film. While a completely different format, the movie has the same impact as Toy Story 3 or Monsters University in that it is a movie that used the gap in time to its advantage to not only make audiences nostalgic but also tap into the age of the audience who likely grew up with the original entries.

While the previous Insidious prequels might have diluted the brand a bit, the first two films by James Wan were a masterclass in horror. Made all the more impressive by their PG-13 rating, they managed to be terrifying without any of the normal hallmarks of a slasher or a gory torture porn venture. Honestly, if one hasn't gone back and rewatched the first two entries, it can be almost easy to forget just how good they are as terrifying movies but also really effective dramas. It left some pretty big shoes to fill, and luckily Patrick Wilson is more than up for the task .

Patrick Wilson Steps Up to Lead a Great Crew

Patrick Wilson Insidious 5

Wilson himself has worked closely with Wan not just on the previous Insidious movies but also on The Conjuring franchise. He has also worked with some of the most creative filmmakers, from Joel Schumacher on The Phantom of the Opera , Zack Snyder on Watchmen , and Todd Field on Little Children . He has learned from the best and steps into the director's chair easily.

While the movie might overuse the jump scare trick one too many times, it is hard to argue how effective they are and that Wilson knows how to build tension. Even when it is clear what is about to happen, it doesn't make the final scare any less terrifying. Wilson has proven himself as exciting a director as he is an actor (and also a singer as he sings the song over the end credits proving he is a multitalented performer). It will be curious to see what he decides to follow this up with.

Wilson does a great job behind and in front of the camera, as do many of those involved. Ty Simpkins has truly grown up. For audiences who likely remember him as a kid from the first two Insidious movies or even in both Iron Man 3 and Jurassic World , seeing him as a young adult certainly will be shocking and a difficult adjustment.

In what is essentially his first full-time leading role, he easily sheds all expectations anyone might have held from his days as a kid actor. He carries a true sense of pain in his eyes that truly sells the sad, scared, and traumatized person at the center of this story.

Related: Why Insidious Is Scarier Than The Conjuring

The real star of the film is newcomer Sinclair Daniels, who plays Dalton's college roommate and eventually companion on this journey into a heart of darkness. From her first moment on screen, she commands the screen and easily steals the show. As chilling as the atmosphere in the film is and how terrifying it can be, the first thing likely on everyone's mind is who this person is and what else she can be seen in. Hopefully, Insidious: The Red Door is the beginning of a long and exciting career for her.

Insidious: The Red Door does have one major issue, and that is centered around the character of Reani Lambert, played by Rose Bryne . A vital part of the first two films, she is greatly sidelined in this movie. While she is not completely rewritten out of the film like Megan Fox in Transformers: Dark of the Moon or recast like Maria Bello replacing Rachel Weisz in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor , Bryne's lack of screen time is still frustrating.

She factors early on in the beginning and does not return until the end of the movie. While the intention is to clearly focus on the father-son dynamic, it does feel like the mother's role in the story is greatly short-changed, particularly when one considers how important she was in the first two. Her presence is brief, and that is rather frustrating.

A Worthy Conclusion to the Insidious Story

Still from Insidious The Red Door

Insidious: The Red Door not only puts the franchise back on track, but it serves as an effective conclusion to the main Lambert trilogy of films while also tying nicely into the two prequel films to make a solid horror saga. It brings a story that started in 2011 to a satisfying conclusion. It might not be as scary as the original , but it gets pretty close.

As with any horror franchise, there will certainly be more (a spin-off film titled Thread: An Insidious Tale is already in development), but if the franchise wanted to end here, it would undoubtedly be a high note to go out on. Insidious: The Red Door will satisfy long-time fans of the franchise and should also scare any newcomers that have decided to join in for a scare.

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movie review insidious the red door

Movie Review — “Insidious: The Red Door”

movie review insidious the red door

Patrick Wilson has become something of the poster boy for “When Good Actors Do Horror.”

One thing you can be sure of, when Wilson does an “Annabelle,” “Insidious” or “Conjuring” movie, when something that can’t be happening starts happening, he’s going to give you an award-worthy interpretation of puzzlement, alarm and freaking the f-out.

Wilson co-stars in, steps behind the camera to direct and even sings in the closing credits song in his latest, “Insidious: The Red Door.” The movie’s a near triumph of murky tone and general spookiness. And the acting is sharp, up and down the line, another testament to actors turning director. They know what their players need.

The plot? It’s a muddle, especially if all these titles run together and the through-line of this “Poltergeist” derived saga of a family being sucked into “The Further” isn’t fresh in your memory.

Wilson doesn’t help matters in this regard by showing up in three horror franchises concurrently. They can’t help but get mixed up in the memory. “Insidious” is the one co-starring Rose Byrne. Vera Farmiga plays his better half in the “Conjuring” and “Annabelle” films about the “Amityville” investigators, the Warrens.

In “The Red Door,” the Lamberts have broken up. Josh (Wilson) has just lost his mother ( Barbara Hershey , remembered in a photo), and that trauma may be triggering things in him that Renai (Byrne) had just as soon not have around.

A prologue tells us that after the last “Insidious” visitation from “The Further,” Josh and tween son Dalton were hypnotized and told to erase “the past year.”

Now Dalton ( Ty Simpkins ) is an aspiring artist headed off to college, and Josh is having recovered-memory flashbacks. Father and son aren’t communicating, which is a pity. Because if Josh remembers anything, it might be the “astral projection” that goes on when one dozes off under the right conditions.

Mom, who didn’t go under hypnosis, might have clearer answers, but she’s busy raising their other two kids and she’s not talking.

Josh is visited and haunted at his mother’s house. Nightmare-tormented Dalton has only his accidental college roomie Chris’s ( Sinclair Daniel ) Black Girl Magic, empathy and facility with Google Search to lean on.

The movie features the requisite jolts, few of which have much punch. But the first truly creepy thing in it is a lulu. Josh is texting in his parked SUV, unaware of the unfocused, grunge-attired figure behind his car which is barely discernable as human. Ish.

The film’s depiction of college life is an amusing mix of cliches — the frat “baby” party (wearing diapers, eating “diaper pudding” out of other diapers) — and a bracing college art class built around two bravura scenes with Hiam Abbass (“Blade Runner: 2049,” “The Visitor” and “Munich”). She plays the demanding professor whose “dredge up your darkest, innermost thoughts” is what triggers Dalton to start having nightmares and “astral projection” strolls and forces him to recover memories he was hypnotized out of at age 10.

Wilson doesn’t utterly lose the thread, but “The Red Door” tends to meander, over-decorating the monstrous “Entity” scenes, reaching for “explanations” that explain nothing other than “This franchise will go on” and serving up a littl e Tiny Tim to set the mood.

One sure way to gauge a horror film’s success is whether it shocks and shakes you, makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. That never happened for me, here. For all the interesting performances and promising characters in this one, I think the actor/director and actor’s director lets us off the hook entirely too easily.

Well at least he gets to sing again, if only over the properly creepy rocker playing under the closing credits.

movie review insidious the red door

Rating: PG-13 for violence, terror, frightening images, strong language and suggestive references

Cast: Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Sinclair Daniel, Hiam Abbass and Lin Shaye..

Credits: Directed by Patrick Wilson, scripted by Scott Teems, based on Leigh Whannell’s characters and story. A Sony/Screen Gems release.

Running time: 1:47

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Excellent review. Agree totally.

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Bloody Disgusting!

‘Insidious: The Red Door’ Review – A Sentimental Swan Song for the Lambert Family

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As its title suggests,  Insidious: The Red Door , the fifth entry in the franchise, returns to the Lambert family to close the door on their ongoing saga with The Further. Set a decade after the events of  Insidious: Chapter Two , star Patrick Wilson pulls double duty for this sequel, making his feature debut with a sentimental entry more interested in exploring buried secrets and family trauma than the paranormal. Less a sequel and more a continuation of  Chapter Two ,  The Red Door  gives a tender send-off to the Lamberts.

Flashback scenes from  Chapter Two  catch unfamiliar audiences up to speed; after young Dalton ( Ty Simpkins ) helps dad Josh (Patrick Wilson) escape the Further and return home, the family decides to suppress their memories. The idea, of course, is to prevent future astral projecting into the Further, closing the door on pervading entities hoping to cross into the real world. Harboring secrets of this magnitude hasn’t been kind to the Lambert family, but a death reopens old wounds as Dalton heads off to college. Old secrets refuse to stay buried, and the door to the Further busts wide open. Father and son must reckon with their past if they have any hope for a future.

Patrick Wilson

Patrick Wilson in Screen Gems INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR, Photo credit: Nicole Rivelli

Written by  Scott Teems  and based on a story by  Leigh Whannell ,  The Red Door evolves the Lambert family in an organic, affecting way. Its central thesis hinges on the erosion of family bonds when memories of this scale get suppressed. What happens when some family members, like Renai Lambert ( Rose Byrne ), must carry the burden of such secrets? Wilson ensures that repurposed footage from  Chapter Two  presents a clear picture of Josh’s possession and subsequent attempts to kill his family so  The Red Door  can mine that trauma through the estranged bond between Josh and Dalton. Both separately find themselves on a paranormal journey of self-discovery.

The Red Door is at its most interesting when following Dalton’s explorations of college life as his reawakening connection to the Further pervades. Now a young adult, Dalton’s typical exploration with self-identity out from under his dad’s shadow comes, and college navigation brings terrifying visions vision it. Some stem from his forgotten past, while others bring current nightmares from the Further. Dalton’s newly forged friendship with roommate Chris ( Sinclair Daniel ) breathes life into this more somber feature most of all. Daniel’s lively, more assertive personality brings levity when necessary and helps flesh out Dalton beyond his reserved, aloof artist persona. Conversely, Josh’s past offers little more than a few scares and drawn out questions.

Insidious: The Red Door

Patrick Wilson in Screen Gems Insidious: The Red Door, Photo credit: Boris Martin

Director Patrick Wilson’s emphasis on family, specifically Josh and Dalton, means the denizens of the Further don’t factor as strongly into the story. Or rather, don’t expect any expansion of lore here. Familiar faces do get brought into the fold, but this is firmly the Lamberts’ story. Wilson does make this franchise entry his own in tone, style, and scares. On the latter, how Wilson toys with sound and tension-building lend unpredictable quality to the scares that render them effectual. But the reliance on Chapter Two footage and a lack of development on the mythology leaves the horror aspect of this story on the underwhelming side.

That it’s so intrinsically tied to  Insidious: Chapter Two , complete with Chapter Two footage flashbacks,  makes it more inaccessible to franchise newcomers than previous entries. Those hoping to learn more about the Lipstick Demon ( Joseph Bishara ) and the darkest corners of the Further may come away disappointed.  The Red Door isn’t interested in the mythology but instead in examining how its ghosts fractured the family and whether their enduring love can make them whole again. Wilson reminds audiences why they fell for the Lambert family in the first place with a sentimental sequel that tenderly bids them farewell. While it doesn’t give a sense of finality to the Further or its ghostly inhabitants, it does offer poignant closure to the protagonists that started it all.

Insidious: The Red Door releases in theaters on July 7, 2023.

2.5 out of 5 skulls

Horror journalist, RT Top Critic, and Critics Choice Association member. Co-Host of the Bloody Disgusting Podcast. Has appeared on PBS series' Monstrum, served on the SXSW Midnighter shorts jury, and moderated horror panels for WonderCon and SeriesFest.

movie review insidious the red door

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‘Horror in the High Desert 3’ Review – A Tense, Creepy Exercise in High Strangeness

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When it comes to found footage horror, films that manage to successfully deliver scares while also following characters that feel sincere within the “true-to-life” conceit of the subgenre are an infrequent breath of fresh air. It’s even rarer to find a series of films that delivers on these fronts so consistently. Yet, for many die-hard found footage fans, writer, director, and producer Dutch Marich ’s Horror in the High Desert series has served up just that over the last 3 years. Now, with the long-anticipated release of Horror in the High Desert 3: Firewatch , Marich continues to masterfully build out his mysterious universe in which unexplained disappearances and deaths, encounters with otherworldly phenomena, and voyeuristic accounts of terror are the norm.

The film follows Oscar Mendoza ( Marco Antonio Parra ), a man determined to uncover the truth behind the incidents that befell Gary Hinge ( Eric Mencis ), Minerva Sound ( Solveig Helene ), and Ameliana Brasher ( Brooke Bradshaw ) in the first two entries. As fires rage in Western Nevada and state officials remain on “fire watch” duty, Oscar sees this as a chance to go deeper into the Nevada wilderness than anyone before, hoping to uncover the truth behind the strange phenomenon that plagues the area. Keeping in line with Marich’s previous films, Firewatch is structured around entries from Oscar’s video diary as he follows clues pointing him to key locations from previous films and beyond, bringing him progressively closer to a mystery that is only deepening.

movie review insidious the red door

While the formula of the High Desert films may feel familiar to some by now, Marich opts to subvert viewer expectations in various ways throughout the third entry—and to great success. Diverting from the measured build of the first film and the relentless dread of the second, Firewatch takes a more playfully calculated approach to its scares, toying with audience expectations with delight. I found my heart rate increasing and fists clenching multiple times while even just trying to spot potential scares in the background of unassuming shots or waiting for jump scares that I was certain were coming. Static shots are used to great effect in these moments, notably ramping up the anticipatory tension for viewers who may feel at this point feel like they can predict Marich’s next move (spoiler alert: you will likely be wrong multiple times).

That’s not to say that Firewatch is narrowly set on pulling the rug out from under viewers as scares go. Elsewhere, the chills are quite direct in their execution, whether stemming from an unsettling voiceover courtesy of an unseen rail operator or a claustrophobic journey into an abandoned mineshaft. The beauty of Firewatch is that doesn’t just rely on one trick, instead finding novel ways to keep viewers on edge by creating a uniquely sensory horror experience. Those who take issue with scares that tend to leave much to the viewer’s imagination (see The Outwaters ) may disagree here, and understandably so; Firewatch is admittedly less bombastic than the previous sequel, Minerva . Still, if you’ve made it this far in the franchise, you’ll likely appreciate Marich’s evolving approach to found footage terror.

Beyond the scares, Firewatch notably succeeds in Marich’s careful characterization of his protagonist. Oscar is not simply an opportunistic mystery-chaser hoping to inject himself into the cases, nor is he another unwitting pawn in the phenomenon’s game. In fact, we find that Oscar’s struggles with loss, mental health concerns, and substance abuse ultimately led him to the High Desert with great intention. It becomes evident early on that Oscar’s investigation is as much about uncovering the truth behind the phenomenon as it is about reconnecting with a greater sense of purpose in his life.

movie review insidious the red door

One particularly touching moment sees Oscar reflecting on his personal trials, disclosing that the High Desert mysteries have sparked his “curiosity in the world again.” This vulnerable disclosure is not only thematically key to Firewatch , but also the whole of Marich’s High Desert series, as it succinctly speaks to the core of what often draws individuals to unexplained phenomena to begin with. Indeed, when life feels devoid of joy and meaning, the mysteries of the world can be especially alluring. They suggest, even if only for a moment, that maybe there is something more to existing than the day-to-day woes and mundanities we often come to accept without question as adults. To this end, Parra’s performance effectively captures the childlike wonder, charming abandon, and renewed zest for life that feels authentic to many folks who would happily traverse the unknown for even the slimmest chance at experiencing something truly novel and awe-inspiring—even in the face of risk.

As with the first two films, Oscar’s footage is intercut with narration from reporter Gal Roberts ( Suziey Block , a comforting and anchoring presence in the franchise) and interviews with both new and familiar players in the High Desert series. While the use of amateur actors can at times be a detriment to found footage efforts, Firewatch benefits from the added authenticity these players bring to the story. I especially appreciated the return of Beverly Hinge ( Tonya Williams Ogden ), which allows Marich to further comment on the detrimental role true crime aficionados can play in the lives of people living through unsolved cases in real-time. Moments like these serve to effectively weave thematic and narrative threads across the films, while even inspiring viewers to revisit past films. In fact, one scene reveals a chilling blink-and-you-miss-it moment from Minerva not previously caught by even the most eagle-eyed viewers, further highlighting Marich’s admirable attention to detail in the series.

It should be noted that by the film’s closing moments, viewers are admittedly left with more questions than answers, which may put off those hoping for a unifying explanation for the series’ unsolved mysteries at this point. With a plan to release at least two more films in the series , it doesn’t appear that Marich is in a rush to reveal all of the High Desert’s secrets anytime soon. Still, for those enjoying the increasingly bizarre and terrifying trek through his universe, Horror in the High Desert 3: Firewatch is an effective and confident entry for Marich that deepens the overarching mystery while keeping the intrigue as high as the strangeness.

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Horror in the High Desert 3: Firewatch  is now available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video.

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‘Insidious: The Red Door’ Review: This Stalled Horror Franchise Comes to a Creaky End

David ehrlich.

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One reason you should be able to jump in easily enough: the film starts with young Dalton (Ty Simpkins) and his dad Josh ( Patrick Wilson ) being hypnotized to forget everything that happened in “Insidious” and “Insidious: Chapter 2,” which effectively puts them on the same page as most of the people in the audience. For another thing, Scott Teems’ script — somehow even thinner than the line separating our world from the monster-filled hellscape that Dalton and Josh access through astral projection, or that it uses to access them — thoroughly flattens the series’ not-so-complicated backstory about “the Further” and Josh’s own childhood. It becomes a flimsy pretense to mass produce the genre’s most overfamiliar tropes about inherited trauma on an assembly line of ultra-telegraphed jump-scares. 

So while it’s pure speculation to suggest that Wilson saw the character-driven conflict behind “The Red Door” as a chance to combine his training with his tastes, it’s like I always say: You can take the boy out of Carnegie Mellon’s Drama program, but you can’t take Carnegie Mellon’s Drama program out of the boy. Indeed, the first act of Wilson’s directorial debut feels more like a hard-nosed grief drama — or at least an Ari Aster movie — than it does the fifth installment of a horror franchise about red-faced demons playing peek-a-boo with Rose Byrne. 

Simpkins plays Dalton as a non-character so vacant it’s hard to tell if he’s haunted or lobotomized, but there’s real pathos behind Josh’s failure to communicate with his son, and the patience Wilson displays with these scenes reflects a deeper interest in what’s really terrifying these people. Sinclair Daniel brings so much pep to her part as Dalton’s roommate that a comedy seems liable to break out any minute, and if not for the mud-brown cinematography that makes every scene look somewhat diseased (for some reason a staple of low-budget studio horror these days), you might almost forget that you’re watching a Blumhouse joint. 

The swirling violins and sudden bangs don’t start until Dalton attends a dopey art class taught by Hiam Abbass, who encourages her students to draw from their subconscious. From that point on, neither of the Lambert men can make it five minutes without astral projecting, as the shared experience brings them closer together even as those pesky demons threaten to tear them apart forever. From the moment Josh is in danger, “The Red Door” is overwhelmed by the feeling that it’s Wilson who’s just trying to get out of this thing alive.

That puts a lot of pressure — way too much — on the horror those phantoms might be able to produce, and though Wilson clearly paid attention to what his directors were doing on the previous “Insidious” movies, the rookie helmer lacks the chops to save this installment with jolts alone. Louder than it is scary, “The Red Door” fumbles its way from one predictable jump to the next, with the setpieces ranging from moderately clever (the MRI sequence plays) to enervatingly flat (a home invasion sequence that apes “It Follows” to negligible effect). By the time Wilson reaches the home stretch he’s running so low on fresh ideas that the movie’s climax offers all the thrill of watching people run around the haunted house at a local carnival. 

The generically (and decidedly PG-13) rent–a-scare horror elements interfere with what “The Red Door” really wants to do, which is to help Josh put an end to the pain cycle that he’s at risk of passing down to his kid. Spread thin between that father-son drama and the jolts intended to galvanize it, Wilson’s creaky debut underdelivers on both. Art is the door to the mind, Dalton’s teacher insists, but this one never opens wide enough to let anything memorable in — or out. 

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Insidious: The Red Door - Review

A steady stride into the further.

Tom Jorgensen

As Blumhouse’s first wholly original franchise, there’s always a sense of homecoming when we get a new Insidious movie – and after two prequel chapters that diverted attention to Lin Shaye’s medium Elise, this feeling permeates Insidious: The Red Door. Patrick Wilson returns to the series, as both an actor and a first-time director, and refocuses the action on the Lambert family, whose journeys into the atmospheric netherworld of The Further have left their strength as a unit broken. Coming full circle back to the Lamberts and pushing those characters to reckon with the effect the first two films had on them provides The Red Door with fertile ground to stage a headier – if less terrifying – take on those bedrock Blumhouse movies.

The Red Door picks up nine years after the Lambert haunting with a slightly-altered version of Chapter 2’s ending: father and son astral projectors Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Dalton (Ty Simpkins) elect to have their memories of the first two movies – and of their abilities – wiped in an effort to prevent the hungry entities of The Further. But the blissful ignorance of that fade-to-white happy ending was short-lived: Though Josh and Dalton can’t remember any specifics, the psychological scarring of the Lipstick-Face Demon’s attacks fractured their family, with Josh in particular unable to express himself in the midst of a worsening brain fog. Dalton is similarly haunted, but a passion for art – a cute nod to his drawings from the first film – seems to have kept him on the rails. A death in the family and Dalton’s simultaneous departure for college puts great strain on the Lamberts, and this time of transition represents a chance for the entities of The Further to attempt to cross over into the living world once again.

In his directorial debut, Patrick Wilson strikes a franchise-best balance between family melodrama and how Insidious’ supernatural elements illustrate it. The Further has always been a charmingly lo-fi horror locale, but The Red Door feels like the first time it (and the entities which call it home) has been used effectively as microcosm for the character arcs being pushed along. Dalton’s art teacher (Hiam Abbass) encourages him to “sink further” into his subconscious as he works on his big project: a painting of a red door he’s seeing in his nightmares. As these trance-like sessions bring secrets about his connection to the spirit world bubbling to the surface, both Dalton’s relationship with Josh and the appetite of the restless spirits become more severe. This shared “sins of the father” storyline and journey towards reconciliation is a simple, but solid thematic base to root the evil entities’ hunger in, and is lent weight by Wilson and Simpkins’ earnest performances. As Dalton, Simpkins in particular has to walk a fine line between the predictable angst of an 18-year-old and the genuine suspicion with which he has to treat Wilson’s Josh.

By and large, Simpkins strikes this balance very well, and maintains a measure of vulnerability for a character who easily could’ve fallen into the “broody art kid” archetype. Josh is on a somewhat parallel track to Dalton in putting his demons to bed. Haunted by Further entities as a child himself, Josh always struggled to engage with the spectral attacks on his family, but his tendency to push through things without talking about them has fully caught up with him here. Compared to the boisterous family man of the first two movies, Wilson plays Josh as a harried husk in The Red Door, and shines in the moments where the character’s barely holding it together. The increased focus on depth for Josh and Dalton reduces Renai (Rose Byrne) and Foster (Andrew Astor) to sounding boards for the lead characters’ struggles, usually through over-the-phone exposition dumps that routinely drag down the pace.

Wilson's horror chops are at their most fruitful during luxurious long takes

As director, Wilson’s horror chops are at their most fruitful during The Red Door’s luxurious long takes, and he’s able to sustain significant stretches of dread around that strength. For as famous as the Insidious films are for their jump scares, they’re usually at their best and most creative in the buildup to the fright, forcing us to stop trusting the corners of our eyes. The writing is on the wall for Josh as soon as he agrees to go into an MRI machine (great time for a pee break, claustrophobes) but Wilson uses smart edits and escalating panic in his performance to turn that screw for as long as is sustainable before paying it off with the inevitable punchline. Wilson pushes this sensibility during daylight scares too, with one early appearance of a spirit playing out in a single take that goes on for what feels like a full minute, re-establishing that creeping, creepy tone that has always been a calling card for the series. Being involved with the franchise since the beginning –  and a frequent collaborator of James Wan’s to boot – it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Wilson is so attuned to the hallmarks of the Insidious movies, but his ability to execute on them so confidently gives The Red Door an identity consistent with what Wan did in Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, all while better illuminating the drama. 

Of course, these marathon, dread-filled rides to the top of the roller coaster often pay off with cacophonous outbursts of demonic rage or ghostly malcontent, punctuated by discordant string hits, and the potency of those moments is one area where The Red Door suffers from the law of diminishing returns. There’s a glut of jump scares throughout the movie, and not always as the result of minutes of carefully layered tension and misdirection. There’s an ugly scratch across my notepad that will attest to the raw power these moments can have out of the blue, but scant few of The Red Door’s attempts at frightening you feel like they’re iterating or innovating in a substantial way.

While Wilson has no problem mining the Lambert family drama for interpersonal conflict, The Red Door’s college setting feels comparatively nondescript. Though we get spooky moments in expected arenas – a classroom, a dorm room, a frat house – little of the activity feels specifically tied to Dalton’s college experience, and so doesn’t connect as cleanly as the family-themed horror does. With images of alcohol-poisoned ghost kids crawling after Dalton – maybe ones who had upbringings as affecting as his – The Red Door hints at more complex avenues it could've explored using its college trappings, a more frank look at how Dalton relates to these kids who’ve died in tragedy. It seems that thread would’ve required one less Lambert to really home in on.

A new setting does mean a new opportunity to explain old information, and Dalton’s roommate Chris (Sinclair Daniel) serves as a refreshingly down-to-earth foil in that role. How quickly Chris is willing to accept Dalton’s astral powers and the resultant paranormal activity calls to mind Insidious' bumbling ghost hunters Specs and Tucker. With Dalton now the relative expert on the subject, Chris’ matter-of-fact reactions and willingness to roll with punches for her new friend provide The Red Door with a reliable levity when needed.

The Verdict

Even if it starts to rely too heavily on surface-level startles, Insidious: The Red Door is a satisfying conclusion to the Lambert family’s long nightmare journey into The Further. First-time director Patrick Wilson grounds The Red Door’s drama in simple stakes – a son trying to forgive his father – and the film is at its best when focusing its horror on playing out that dynamic. Though the supporting cast and college setting could’ve used more attention, The Red Door wears its heart on its sleeve and generates enough dread in the quiet moments to sustain it through the less-effective jump scares.

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‘Insidious: The Red Door’ To Stream on Netflix US in November 2023

The movie is already streaming on Netflix in India and South Korea.

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Picture: Sony Pictures

The latest chapter in the long-running horror franchise Insidious hit theaters over the summer and will soon be coming to Netflix in the US in November 2023 and is already on Netflix India and South Korea. Here’s where and when we expect Insidious: The Red Door to stream on Netflix.

Kicking off in 2010, the James Wan-directed horror movie did well enough to warrant a second, third, fourth, and fifth entry, two of which are sequels and two are prequels.

Patrick Wilson returns both in front and behind the camera for this entry, where we find Dalton in college, which soon becomes a waking nightmare with demons from his past returning.

While critics certainly haven’t taken to the film (it currently holds a 35% on RottenTomatoes ), audiences seem to have found a soft spot for it thus far. In IndieWire’s scorching review , they called it “dull and rusty as a nail in the coffin could possibly get without breaking apart.” Ouch!

When will Insidious: The Red Door be on Netflix in the United States?

Let’s begin with Netflix in the United States.

We definitely know Insidious 5 will be coming to Netflix here because of the Sony deal struck in 2021 and came into effect last year. It’s seen dozens of theatrical movies come to the service.

For the most part, we’ve seen new movies come to Netflix exactly 120 days after their theatrical debut, but it is sometimes a little longer. That means, at the earliest, we expect the movie to be available on Netflix on November 4th, 2023.

Thankfully, we’re happy to report that’s exactly when the movie will be coming with a notice on the Netflix page confirming its November 4th release:

Insidious The Red Door Netflix Release

Release date for Insidious: The Red Door

For more on the upcoming Sony movies set to arrive as part of this first window pact, keep an eye on our evolving Sony Pictures slate guide . Other Sony movies coming up on Netflix includes No Hard Feelings , Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse, and Love Again .

Will other regions of Netflix receive Insidious: The Red Door?

Yes, but not all will receive alongside the United States.

The first to get the movie will be Netflix India. They received the movie on October 6th with South Korea also picking it up just a few weeks later on October 19th.

Countries in Asia (such as the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea) get new Sony movies within a year or so after release, meaning they’ll stream it at some point in early-to-mid 2024.

Belgium, The Netherlands, South Korea, and Italy will get the movie at some point in 2024, too, although likely in the latter half of the year.

Per current schedules, Netflix in the United Kingdom will receive Insidious 5 around 2025 or 2026.

While you’re waiting for the fifth installment on Netflix, numerous James Wan-produced projects can be found on Netflix, including Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles , My Wife and I Bought a Ranch, and There’s Someone in Inside Your House .

Will you check out Insidious: The Red Door in theaters or wait for it to jump to Netflix? Let us know in the comments below.

Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.

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The Insidious Franchise: How Many Movies Are There?

The Insidious franchise has been widely successful with more movies joining the series since 2011. The franchise has been the brainchild of Australian horror filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell . The duo have worked together on several horror projects, with Whannell as the screenwriter.

So far, the Insidious movies have centered around the Lambert family, Elise Rainier, Specs, and Tucker. Their plot focuses on The Further , a spirit realm filled with ghosts seeking to feed on human souls. With talks of a new movie, crossover film, and spin-off, now is the best time to catch up on all five released Insidious movies. Here’s a list of all the Insidious movies by release order.

Insidious (2011)

The 2011 Insidious was the first movie released in the franchise. The movie had its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 14, 2010. It was released theatrically about 7 months later in the United States, on April 1, 2011. The Lambert family is introduced in the 2011 Insidious film. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the Lambert parents. After the family moves into a new house, the oldest child, Dalton Lambert, sneaks into the attic and accidentally falls from an old ladder. After hitting his head from the fall, Dalton slips into a coma for months.

After moving back home, the family begins to experience paranormal events. With non-stop attacks and manifestations, Lorraine Lambert ( Barbara Hershey ), Josh Lambert’s (Patrick Wilson) mother, invites a demonologist for help. This introduces Elise Rainier and her team of paranormal investigators, Specs and Tucker. The 2011 Insidious movie was an instant Box Office hit. Produced on a $1.5 million budget, Insidious grossed $100.1 million.

Watch Insidious on Apple TV+

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

With the first movie’s Box Office success, talks for a sequel followed almost immediately. However, it wasn’t until February 2012 that there was an official confirmation for Insidious: Chapter 2 . As a direct sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2 addresses the unanswered questions in its predecessor. James Wan and Leigh Whannell agreed to return as director and screenwriter, respectively. 

The movie’s plot also centered around the Lambert family. Insidious: Chapter 2 was released theatrically on September 13, 2013. Despite being made with a higher production budget of $5 million, Insidious: Chapter 2 was another Box Office juggernaut. The movie grossed an impressive $161.9 million at the Box Office.

Watch Insidious: Chapter 2 on Apple TV+

Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

After a third installment was announced in September 2013, fans of the franchise, as well as Patrick Wilson , raised concerns about the direction in which it could go. Also, James Wan did not return as director but announced Leigh Whannell would direct Insidious: Chapter 3 as his directorial debut. However, although not attached as the film’s director, Wan stayed on as a producer. By the end of the first quarter of 2014, Screen Rant reported Chapter 3 would focus on a new family. 

However, although true, Insidious: Chapter 3 was cleverly created as a sequel to the first two released movies. Its plot focuses on Elise Rainier, Specs, and Tucker’s backstory. Although Insidious: Chapter 3 was produced with 10x the budget of the first movie, it was still widely successful. After its theatrical release on June 5, 2015, Insidious: Chapter 3 grossed $113 million at the Box Office, with an $11 million budget. Although it failed to surpass its predecessor, it was the second highest-grossing movie in the franchise after its theatrical run.

Watch Insidious: Chapter 3 on Apple TV+

Insidious: The Last Key (2018)

Insidious: The Last Key was released on January 5, 2018, as a New Year’s gift to the franchise’s dedicated fandom. Leigh Whannell has no interest in returning as director but chose to focus on developing the story and writing its screenplay. American filmmaker and actor Adam Robitel was hired as The Last Key ’s director. Insidious: The Last Key was created as another sequel, set a few months before the events in the first movie. 

As such, it is the second film in the franchise where the Lambert family does not appear. Insidious: The Last Key ’s budget was slightly reduced to $10 million. Although it was received with generally negative critical reviews, it became the highest-grossing film in the franchise after its theatrical run. Insidious: The Last Key earned $167.9 million at the Box Office.

Watch Insidious: The Last Key on Apple TV+

Insidious: The Red Door (2023)

After a five-year wait for the next project in the Insidi ous franchise , Insidious: The Red Door was released on July 7, 2023. With a 107-minute runtime, Insidious: The Red Door has the longest runtime in the franchise, exceeding the 2013 Insidious: Chapter 2 by a minute. The Red Door ’s storyline returns the franchise to its original timeline with the Lambert family. It is also created as a direct sequel to Insidious: Chapter 2 . It is also the first movie in the franchise that Leigh Whannell did not write the screenplay. 

However, he helped develop the story with the screenwriter Scott Teems . Also, Patrick Wilson, the actor who plays Josh Lambert in the franchise, directed Insidious: The Red Door as his directorial debut. So far, The Red Door has the highest production budget in the franchise, with $16 million. Also, with Box Office earnings of $189.1 million, the Patrick Wilson-directed Insidious: The Red Door is currently the highest-grossing film in the Insidious film franchise .

Watch Insidious: The Red Door on Apple TV+

Future Projects In The Insidious Franchise

Insidious movies – TVOvermind

Blumhouse Productions , the company that produced the Insidious franchise, has had plans to make a crossover movie with Sinister . Blumhouse CEO and founder Jason Blum first announced the plans in January 2018. Although he confirmed it had been in development, the untitled crossover movie has been in development hell ever since.

While audiences eagerly awaited the release of the fifth installment in the franchise, a spin-off update was announced in January 2022. At the time, nothing was said about the plot’s direction, but American filmmaker and writer Jeremy Slater was hired as the movie’s director. The spin-off movie will be Slater’s feature directorial debut but will have James Wan as one of its producers. In mid-2023, an update stated Mandy Moore and Kumail Nanjiani will lead the cast, with the spin-off title released as Thread: An Insidious Tale .

However, the Insidious franchise isn’t only looking towards the direction of spin-offs and crossover films. In May 2024, Song Pictures announced a sixth installment in the franchise was in development. The untitled film is scheduled for release on August 29, 2025. Insidious fans can only keep their fingers crossed for what is promised to be a jaw-dropping addition to the film series. If you haven’t watched the Insidious franchise movies, the best way to watch them is chronologically .

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Onyinye Izundu

Onyinye Izundu (He/Him) is a writer at TVOvermind. With a particular interest in fantasy, including popular shows like House of the Dragon, The Rings of Power, and Games of Thrones, Onyinye enjoys watching movies and TV shows of various genres. Some of his all-time favorite films include Armageddon, Independence Day (starring Will Smith), Gladiator, and the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 1-4 (still trying to wrap his head around the multiverse of Phase 5).

movie review insidious the red door

A new haunted maze based on the Insidious film franchise will be part of Halloween Horror Nights 2024 at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando.

ALSO SEE: Universal’s Horror Nights calls the Ghostbusters to save the world from another Ice Age

Halloween Horror Nights 2024 will feature eight new haunted mazes along with several scare zones and the Terror Tram on select nights from Sept. 5 through Nov. 3 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

The new Insidious: The Further maze tells the story of the haunted Lambert family after their son slips into a coma and becomes possessed by a demon.

The maze takes visitors inside an ethereal supernatural realm known as The Further where they will battle demonic entities and vengeful spirits.

ALSO SEE: Universal brings A Quiet Place maze to Halloween Horror Nights

Along the way, Horror Nights visitors will come face-to-face with the Red-Faced Demon, Bride in Black, Man Who Can’t Breathe and KeyFace as they pass through a series of red doors and travel deeper into a timeless astral world.

Horror Nights previously dipped into the Insidious film franchise for mazes in 2013 (Into the Further), 2015 (Return to the Further) and 2017 (Beyond the Further). The 2013 edition was among the highest-rated mazes in Horror Nights history.

The five films in the supernatural horror franchise include “Insidious” (2010), “Chapter 2” (2013), “Chapter 3” (2015), “The Last Key” (2018) and “The Red Door” (2023) with a sixth installment set to hit in theaters in August 2025.

ALSO SEE: Six Flags’ Fright Fest is ready for Halloween showdown with Universal’s Horror Nights

The $700 million Insidious film franchise is helmed by acclaimed horror filmmaker James Wan — who is also behind the $1 billion Saw franchise and $2 billion Conjuring franchise.

Mazes based on the Saw and Conjuring franchises will be across town this year at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest Extreme .

Halloween Horror Nights 2024 runs on select nights from Sept. 5 to Nov. 3 at Universal Studios Hollywood. (Courtesy of Universal)

Insidious: The Further is the third haunted house based on a major Hollywood franchise — joining mazes based on Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire and A Quiet Place in the 2024 Horror Nights lineup coming to Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal’s Hollywood park will also feature two original themed mazes in 2024: Dead Exposure: Death Valley and Monstruos 2: The Nightmares of Latin America .

The separate admission Horror Nights event is not included with daily admission to Universal Studios Hollywood. Universal is selling an Early Access Ticket that provides entrance to select haunted mazes 90 minutes before Horror Nights officially begins each night at 7 p.m. Horror Nights season passes, front-of-the-line passes and VIP tours are also available for the event.

The Florida version of Horror Nights begins on Aug. 30 with 10 haunted houses, five scare zones and live entertainment.

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‘house of the dragon’ season 2, episode 6 recap and review: the flight of the dragonriders.

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House Of The Dragon

Updated 7.22.24 — See updates below.

Sunday night’s episode of House Of The Dragon continues what last week’s episode started, with each of the principle factions jockeying for power and pushing pieces around the board. Once again, we will take flight on our very own dragon, the black-and-red Rhaelyx—or ‘Shadow Flame’ in High Valyrian—who we first met in my recap of last week’s episode . Everything looks clearer when perched atop the back of a dragon. Just don’t ask Ser Steffon Darklyn his opinion on the matter.

Spoilers follow.

Also: Be sure to follow me here on this blog by clicking the button at the top-right of this post. That way you can get updates when I post! Huzzah!

The City Of Kings And Dragons

We’ll begin this week’s journey flying high above the red walls and tiled rooftops of King’s Landing. If the city looks different in House of the Dragon than it did in Game of Thrones, you can blame filming locations. The Thrones version of the city was filmed primarily in Dubrovnik, Croatia. That city’s distinct roof tiles—known as “kupe kanalice”—gave King’s Landing its unique look. The tiles were hand-made in the village of Kupari up until the year 1925, with the wet clay stretched out over the craftsmens’ thighs to give them their unique shape.

King’s Landing is primarily filmed in Cáceres, Spain for House of the Dragon, and we see less of it from above, more from ground level and the bustling streets. This location was also used in Game of Thrones but is the main filming location for the prequel series.

As we peer down, however, it is both these cities I imagine we see spread out below us. The red-tiled rooftops, the winding cobbled streets pressed in on both sides by brick buildings.

Here is Cáceres:

movie review insidious the red door

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Overview of the old monumental city of Caceres, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1986, ... [+] Extremadura, Spain, February 2016. (Photo by Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images)

And here, Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnic, Croatia, April 2009. (Photo by Luis Davilla/Cover/Getty Images)

Notice the peasants moving about, some are running up from the shoreline carrying bundles of food: Vegetables, loaves of bread, fish. Some have black and red banners draped over their shoulders. The Gold Cloaks and other soldiers are taken by surprise. In the High Sept, the Queen Dowager and her daughter the Queen are rushed out by their knights, alarmed by the howling mob that has whipped up like a storm.

It is Rhaenyra and Mysaria’s doing. They sent these “gifts” to the starving people of King’s Landing to bend the people toward Rhaenyra’s cause, and it’s clearly working. The Prince Regent, for all his cunning and skill in battle, has a great deal to learn about actually governing. “The enemy without may be fought with swords, the enemy within is more insidious,” his Master of Whisperers, Larys Strong, warns him. He reminds young Aemond that he has yet to choose a Hand; Ser Criston Cole was his brother Aegon’s Hand, not his.

Larys Strong

Larys plays his cards exactly how he might with Aegon or Alicent, but Aemond suffers neither fools nor lickspittles. He tells his spy-master to summon his grandsire, Otto Hightower, back to the city. Perhaps Alicent was wrong when she told him earlier, “You have the impetuous of youth, and its arrogance.”

Aemond is shoring up his power, and the first step he takes is to dismiss his mother from the Small Council. Last week we the Queen Dowager’s dawning realization that she was being cast aside after so many years pulling the strings. Aemond ignores her jabs. “I’m sure you’ll be pleased to return to more . . . domestic pursuits,” he tells her.

The Prince Regent also orders Ser Criston Cole to march on Harrenhal. He’s furious with the Lannisters when Jason Lannister sends a raven summoning Aemond to help march on Daemon. “He dares to summon me with haste,” Aemond fumes. “I am the prince regent, not a dog to be put to heel.”

Aemond One-Eye

Instead, he orders Cole to march from King’s Landing and the Lord of Casterly Rock to march from the west. The two will converge on Harrenhal and Aemond will join them “when the time is ripe.”

Aemond also instructs the younger Lannister twin to make an alliance with the Triarchy—the pirate alliance between the Free Cities of Lys, Myr and Tyrosh—in order to weaken the Sea Snake’s blockade of Blackwater Bay. (In the books, it is Otto Hightower who devises this strategy).

Aegon has been slowly healing from his grievous wounds, but Maester Orwyle says he “sleeps nine hours out of every ten” (a line taken directly from Fire & Blood ) and it’s clear that he is in terrible pain and anguish. He is paid visits by his mother, who tells him tearily “I’m sorry” and from his brother, who presses his Small Council stone into Aegon’s chest as he interrogates him: “What do you remember?”

“Nothing,” Aegon gasps. Aemond presses down harder. “You challenged Melys,” he says calmly. “It was foolish.”

Aemond and Aegon

“I remember nothing,” the King replies, and Aemond bends forward and kisses his brother on the forehead. When the Grand Maester enters, Aemond tells him to take good care of his brother. Orwyle is clearly nervous.

The last visitor Aegon receives is the Clubfoot, who instructs the nurse to withhold his Milk of the Poppy. “The drink takes the pain away but it dulls your mind,” he tells the King. And then he tells him the hard truths: “You will never be whole. Orwyle has exhausted his capabilities. Your mind is all that remains to you. I do not say that gladly.”

From our perch on the window, we can see Aegon in all his resplendent suffering. But it is more than mere pain on his face. There is fear there as well. You can smell it on him and in the air, sour andmixed in with the stink of bandages and sickness.

“I came screaming into the world,” Larys tells his liege. “My foot so twisted that my father named it sorcery. People will pity you behind your back or in your presence and they will stare,” he tells him, drawing from his own life. “And they will underestimate you. And this will be your advantage.”

Larys can see the fear on Aegon’s face.

“Your brother rules in your place now,” he says softly, “which means that your life is in danger. But I think you know that.”

“Help me,” Aegon whispers. I think Larys only wants to help himself. He only visits his fallen king after Aemond spurns his wish to become Hand. What a powerful moment between these men. Certainly we see a new side of the scheming Master of Whisperers.

Alicent and Gwayne

Out in the castle yards, Ser Criston Cole and his knights ready for the long ride to Harrenhal. Among them is Ser Gwayne Hightower, the eldest child of Otto Hightower. Alicent approaches him. “I wish to give you my blessing,” she says, and he smirks. “Well, my thanks to the Queen Dowager” he says, giving a mock bow, an edge to his tone. Something has changed in Gwayne since he’s returned from war. The cocky arrogance has been blunted by the harsh realities of battle.

Alicent asks about her youngest son, Daeron, who was sent to Old Town as Gwayne’s ward when he was young. “What’s he like?” she asks. Impatient, Gwayne says that she surely must know as they write letters to one another. She says they rarely do anymore. Gwayne softens.

“He’s stalwart,” he says. “Clever. As adept with his lute as he is with his sword. And a feature in the fancies of many a young lady I’d wager.” Gwayne pauses, thinking. “He’s kind,” he says at last.

Alicent seems both relieved and forlorn. “That’s good,” she says.

“You did well to send him to ward,” Gwayne replies. The Red Keep does not create much kindness in young men, he notes, clearly unimpressed with his other nephews.

“Was it the court or was it their mother?” Alicent says, the full weight of her mistakes weighing heavily now. “You did your best,” her brother replies, but I’m not sure either of them believe it.

Ser Cole gives Alicent a long, meaningful look as he makes ready to depart and she stares back. Their last words together were bitter, and there’s no telling if these lovers—bound together by hate more than by love—will ever see one another again. She gives him a slight nod and he turns and rides off.

We’ll depart this stinking city as well, dear readers. Come now, Rhaelyx, sōvēs! Fly! Nothing ever good happened in King’s Landing. Alas, nothing ever good happened where we’re going, either, but north and west we’ll travel ahead of Cole’s armies. Somewhere, the Lannisters march with their caged lions. We’ll get to Harrenhal before them.

The Man Who Would Be King

Daemon remains a prisoner of ghosts. This time, it is his brother King Viserys I he sees, and I am reminded of the biggest hole in House of the Dragon’s second season. It is a hole in the shape of Paddy Considine, whose performance as Viserys should have earned him an Emmy—if only he wasn’t up against that other show about kings and princes: Succession.

One of the best lines from that HBO series was Kendall’s “I am the eldest boy!” and there’s something just as sad and pathetic wafting about Daemon Targaryen, who viewed his older brother almost as a father. In his visions of Viserys, we learn something important about Daemon’s motivations. He doesn’t want the throne because it will give him power. He wants it because he wants his brother’s love and affection.

“Did you really say it?” Viserys intones from the Iron Throne as Daemon looks up, slightly baffled. “Heir for a day?” Viserys seethes.

“You can’t possibly still be angry about this,” Daemon replies (and yes, this is a very funny line—I’ve complained about the lack of humor in this show, but there is a lot of very subtle humor in Daemon’s recent storyline). Viserys’s anger, his rejection of his brother, naming Rhaenyra heir in his place, all of it has consumed Daemon for years, decades even at this point. It makes sense that he would bristle at his niece-wife’s rise to power when it also means accepting that his brother chose her instead.

He tries to flee the throne room but the door is locked and when it finally opens, Daemon tumbles to the floor before a confused Ser Simon Strong. “I do wonder if you’re getting enough sleep,” the steward of Harrenhal says, hilariously. (Strong is quickly becoming a Season 2 VIP). Daemon, still somehow not suspecting Alys’s witchcraft, draws his knife and presses it to Strong’s throat, accusing him of plotting against him, of poisoning him, of conspiring with Larys or Rhaenyra.

“Whatever your game is Strong I assure you your king is on his guard!” he proclaims as he backs warily from the room. Strong looks bemused more than afraid.

Daemon storms out of the castle, down toward where his dragon, Caraxes waits. I get the sense that Caraxes has spotted us, dear reader, or at least sense Rhaelyx nearby. But Daemon never makes it to the dragon. At the Godswood, Alys Rivers stands. He confronts her but she is unfazed by his bluster.

Alys Rivers

“There are older things in this world than you or I, or in living memory,” she says. “You are not the player but a piece on the board. As am I, for that matter.”

“I’m not like you,” he says tersely. She tells him that in some ways that’s true. “There’s an anger that blinds you,” she says. When he complains about Viserys choosing Rhaenyra over him, he exclaims that she never even wanted the crown.

Did you ever think that this is why he chose her? Alys replies. The very fact that she didn’t want the crown may make her the best possible choice. “Perhaps those who strive for it are the least suited to wear it,” she muses. “Viserys never wanted it himself if you recall. It’s not a prize to be won but a burden to bear.”

This is perhaps the best thing anyone could ever tell Daemon Targaryen, and they seem to land. He’s caught off guard and for once seems to listen rather than just speak. This is a side of Daemon I don’t think we’ve ever seen. He’s . . . almost vulnerable.

“If you have any counsel for dealing with the Riverlords I’d be glad of it,” he says.

“Daemon Targaryen asking for help?” she replies with a laugh. “Counsel,” he retorts, pathetically.

She tells him that the Riverlords will never unite without the Lord Tully. They’re too proud, too fractious. But Tully is old and useless and Daemon is at a loss.

“I need help, Alys,” he finally admits. This is the second proud, impetuous Targaryen prince to ask for help in one episode. Will wonders never cease?

Alys tells him to do nothing. “In a few days time the winds will shift,” she says.

Some time later, Daemon is awakened from another dream of his brother—this time mourning the death of his wife—with good news. Grover Tully has died. None of his healers could help him, and even Alys Rivers’ efforts could not save the old man. Daemon realizes immediately that she was behind his death, and when he’s alone again he weeps—though whether they are sobs of relief that he can now finally raise a host, or of grief from his vision we cannot say.

Rhaelyx is hungry. Perhaps we will fly north and east, over the rocky hills of the Vale. There are no dragons here save the younglings Rhaenyra sent with Rhaena.

But wait, what is this below? There is Rhaena walking with Rhaenyra’s young son, their retinue behind them. And there . . . bones and burnt earth, a huge scorched scar upon the ground. No baby dragon did this.

Back at the Eyrie, Rhaena confronts Lady Arryn telling her that the Vale does indeed have its own large dragon. The Lady replies, “It is large and formidable, but alas wild.”

Book spoilers and speculation ahead.

The dragon in question is a wild dragon named Sheepstealer. In the books, he is claimed by an urchin girl named Nettles who ends up going to Daemon with her dragon once it’s been claimed. I am 99% sure at this point that Nettles is going to be Rhaena in the show, and perhaps she’ll even hide her identity somehow and go to her father, and all the stuff we read about them in the book will be “fiction” and this will be the real story. This makes sense, as Nettles has not been introduced in Season 2, whereas Ulf the White, Hugh Hammer and Addam of Hull all have been, all of whom are the Dragon Seeds from Fire & Blood.

End book spoilers.

Curious happenings in the Vale, but not so curious as further south. We’ll fly quickly now, to Dragonstone and . . .

The Queen Of Dragons

We’ve already discussed Rhaenyra and Mysaria’s successful plan to send food to the inhabitants of King’s Landing—like some beneficent siege tactic. What we left out was the two women’s romantic moment. I think Rhaenyra is feeling very lonely, and both women have a shared history with Daemon. That their embrace turns to cautious touching and then a passionate kiss should not surprise us; I don’t think it means Rhaenyra prefers the company of women, necessarily.

But these two have found some solace in one another’s company, and Rhaenyra is almost certainly sick of the company of men. Her advisors have begun to speak out more boldly against her—she slaps one of them for good measure, telling him “It is my fault I think that you have forgotten to fear me.” Even her son doubts her, something that gnaws at her even more. How can she rule the Seven Kingdoms if she cannot convince Jace?

Much of this doubt comes after the loss of Ser Steffon Darklyn, who bravely agrees to try to ride a dragon. It almost seems as if he’ll succeed at mounting Seasmoke who, along with Vermithor and Silverwing, need riders. When she summons Ser Steffon because of his shared ancestry, she says “I do not compel you to do this. To claim a dragon you must also be prepared to die.”

Steffon bravely accepts his duty, and when he finally approaches the dragon and all seems well, he utters words that let us know he is surely doomed. “I’ve done it,” he says, breathing a sigh of relief. Seasmoke rises up and breathes out a great gout of flame, catching the knight and several dragon handlers in its inferno.

Seasmoke flies free and later his shadow falls over another relatively new character: Addam of Hull, younger brother of Alyn who the Sea Snake has asked to be his boatswain. Addam flees as the dragon swoops down, scrambling through the trees, falling over himself in a panic to get away. But Seasmoke lands in front of him and leans down, looking every bit like a monster going in for the kill.

Rhaenyra and Mysaria’s kiss is interrupted by news: Seasmoke has been seen flying far above with a rider on his back. “The Greens?” Mysaria asks. Rhaenyra can’t think of who else it could be—but we know, don’t we Rhaelyx? We’ve seen who flies on Seasmoke’s back.

The Queen of Dragons mounts Syrax and flies away from Dragonstone and we will follow her, but we won’t see where she goes because the scene fades to black and the credits roll.

All told, another fantastic and gripping episode of House of the Dragon which manages to be fascinating and compelling even without large-scale dragon battles or battles of any kind. Every scene crackled this week, just like last week, and all signs point toward epic battles to round out the end of Season 2, as armies march and dragons take flight.

Oh, and Mysaria is right: The sword very much becomes Rhaenyra. Perhaps it’s time she joined the war.

Scattered Thoughts:

  • I forgot to mention Ser Simon Strong literally shushing Daemon as the wild-eyed Targaryen holds the knife to his throat. This was easily one of the funniest things that this show has given us, and took me back to when my own kids were wee babes and I used to shush them when they wailed and cried. A good shush goes a long ways. I think Strong must have been a very good dad, because he’s a very good grandpa to Daemon.
  • I also forgot to mention Helaena and her little bird cages. Well, I thought at first that she had very small birds. She said “this one stopped singing” which one would usually say about a bird who may have died or fallen silent for some other reason. I didn’t expect them to be insects. It’s interesting that Helaena is clearly quite mad and sees visions and all the rest, but we’ve never seen it from her point-of-view; but Daemon has now been afflicted with what I can only assume is a very similar madness—though one foisted upon him through witchcraft—and we get a glimpse of what it’s like.
  • We hear the Greens discussing the Greyjoys and how they have not picked sides and are biding their time to see which way the wind blows. Sounds like not much has changed for the Iron Islanders between this time and the Game of Thrones timeline.
  • We see both Ulf White and Hugh Hammer this episode, characters who will become more important figures going forward. Ulf White provokes the guards as the anger brews in the city; Hugh Hammer robs a smaller man, taking the food he’s brought with him from Rhaenyra’s ships. This may be an important moment in judging his character, and what he might bring to the story later.
  • When I discussed Rhaena and her conversation with Lady Arryn I forgot to mention the bit about Prince Reggio and his offer to shelter her and Rhaenyra’s young sons in Pentos. Rhaena clearly doesn’t want to go. Will the boys board a ship without her and make their way across the Narrow Sea?
  • I really enjoyed Seasmoke as well. When he finds Addam, he’s almost playful, though the poor young man doesn’t realize this. I’m reminded a bit of the dragon Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon (a wonderful animated film with an even better sequel) who always reminded me of a cat—so much in fact that we named our cat (this was around when those movies came out) after Toothless. Dragons are a lot like cats, only sort of listening to people when they feel like it, willing to show affection or withhold it, never so eager to please as dogs.

That’s all for now. I’ll add any more scattered thoughts I have should they come to me. Thanks for reading!

Update 7/22/24

Curiously, I’ve had a lot of readers tell me that they didn’t like this episode, or tuned out halfway through, or that it was only okay. I disagree with these takes quite vehemently, but I do understand where they’re coming from.

One major complaint seems to be that the show is simply moving too slowly, and after last week’s very dense, character-driven, and dialogue-heavy episode getting another in the same vein might straing some viewers’ patience. I think that if you’ve made it this far in House of the Dragon, you should probably be used to getting back-to-back, plot-heavy episodes like this. I also think they serve a few important purposes:

  • Last week’s episode dealt a great deal with the fallout of the dragon battle between Rhaenys/Meleys and the Targaryen brothers on Sunfyre and Vhagar. Aegon’s injuries, the dragon being carted through the streets of King’s Landing creating fear and discontent in the populace, the grief at Dragonstone and Driftmark. There was a lot to unpack and power shifting that needed to occur, with Aemond taking charge of the Greens and so forth. This episode planted the seeds for last night’s, with Jace and Rhaenyra deciding to find new dragonriders.
  • Last night’s episode, meanwhile, started to put things back in motion. Aemond flexed his power, showing both his strong and unwavering leadership—a stark contrast to his older brother’s—and his, ahem, blind spots. Aemond has a mind for battle and ruthlessness, but no sense of how to govern or the dangers the people present to the Green cause. That being said, he also shows a shrewdness for delegation and his decision to recall Otto Hightower is a great illustration of this. Also, mommy issues. Last night’s episode not only shows the Greens marching back to war (as well as the Lannisters—green and red, like Christmas for Daemon) but also the failed attempt to have Darklyn ride the dragon and the successful bonding of Addam and Seasmoke, albeit offscreen.
  • My point here is that these last two episodes were like a long breath. The first was a deep inhalation, the muted collective gasp of everyone involved with Rook’s Rest and the tragedy and horrors of that battle. The next was the exhalation, as both sides began to marshall their forces for war—the Greens sending their vastly superior armies and the Blacks scrambling to gain dominance of the skies.

None of this is boring, but then I am a huge fan of the book Fire & Blood and a huge fan of the types of history books that George R.R. Martin was drawing from, such as The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. These stories are filled with battle, succession drama, betrayal, intrigue, and lots and lots of stuff that isn’t particularly exciting as well—stuff that lays the groundwork for the big battles and beheadings and so forth.

This is what last week and this week did. This is a war story, but in-between the battles we get character drama, court intrigue, strategy, and so on and so forth. I suspect that the final two episodes of the season will be action-packed.

Another reason we get episodes without major dragon battles is budgetary. Already, this season was slashed from 10 to 8 episodes almost certainly because of money limitations. The big difference between House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones is this show has lots of dragons and lots of battles featuring dragons and that is incredibly expensive. It also has more war in general, more big battles, all of which would be expensive even without CGI winged beasts. So we have to be a little bit patient and not expect that every episode. I say, enjoy all the juicy character drama. Think how much great stuff played out next to the bed of king Aegon this week. Both the scenes with Aemond and Aegon and Larys and Aegon were crackling good.

The second big complaint I’ve heard is with regards to Daemon who has been languishing in Harrenhal having his visions for four episodes now (he landed at the ruined fortress in Episode 3). I sympathize with this complaint as I do feel we could have moved through this storyline a bit faster, or given Daemon something else to do—like fly over the Riverlands and frighten people or burn some insolent nobles—instead of see quite so many visions in this little horror side-story.

However, this week’s was by far the best of the bunch and certainly the most important. Daemon sees visions of his brother, Viserys, and both we and Daemon realize just how much his brother meant to him, just how badly he yearned for his brother’s approval and love, and how his own pride and bitterness—rather than anything Viserys did to him—often caused that rift between them to grow. It was a huge moment for Daemon and so well crafted.

Besides, we got Ser Simon Strong at his very best. Both the “you need more sleep” bit and the shushing were absolute comedic gold, which is the exact thing I keep asking for more of—so how can I not enjoy it when I’m given what I wanted?

That’s my two cents. But words are wind. Let me know your thoughts as well on Twitter , Instagram or Facebook . Also be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me here on this blog . Sign up for my newsletter for more reviews and commentary on entertainment and culture.

Past Season 2 Reviews:

  • Episode 5 Review
  • Episode 4 Review: The Red Dragon & The Gold
  • Episode 3 Review: Olf Feuds & Bad Blood
  • Episode 2 Review: I Love You, My Brother
  • Episode 1 Review: Blood And Cheese

Erik Kain

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