Insidious: The Red Door
Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new English film Insidious : The Red Door aka Insidious 5. There have been a couple of horror franchise that have really stood their ground atleast with a few films from the franchise. One of them is The Conjuring franchise and the other the Insidious franchise. If you look closely with respect to the stand-out films of the franchise then you will find one name common to both – James Wan, one of the finest directors of the horror genre who absolutely knows his stuff and has worked on his skills to enhance the horror watching experience. This can also be attributed to the fact that the moment he has stepped away from each of the two franchise, the rest of the films have fallen flat. In other words, these films are now nothing more than cash grabs that are an absolute joke in the horror space. That said, I still wanted to give Insidious : The Red Door a chance especially given how deprived we are of a good horror film. So then does Insidious : The Red Door manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Insidious : The Red Door is a direct sequel to Insidious Chapter 1 and 2 and it follows the story of the Lambert family who have to face their demons one last time to put them to rest once and for all. The story here is literally non-existential, essentially relying just on one concept of astral projections to drive the narrative. While it may not have been a bad idea of introducing an innovative concept, it did stray away from the soul of the franchise which was so successful in instilling fear in the minds of the viewers. The screenplay standing at 100 odd minutes is an absolute eye sore and offers nothing new(despite the concept) apart from being filled with the traditional horror cliches.
The drama does open with the reintroduction of the protagonist and his family who visit a psychiatrist to remove the memories of the trauma that they have been through(as shown in the previous 2 installments). After a time leap, the focus shifts to a now dysfunctional family with the son of the protagonist opting for a ivy-league university where the horror element creeps in. The writers here opt for a cerebral approach to horror which was not a bad decision, but the surprising element was the lack of fear throughout the script. The film fails from a writing perspective given how there aren’t enough moments created to instill fear in the minds of the viewers. For some odd reason, the focus is on the family melodrama as opposed to exploring the concept of astral projections which hardly contributed to 10 minutes of the runtime in the first hour.
The proceedings are dull and devoid of any excitement. As they say, horror is the most difficult genre to crack and this line does come back to haunt the writers who it seemed weren’t sure on how to integrate the horror set pieces in the screenplay. As a result, the only real set piece that stands out is the MRI scan sequence which was chilling and did give me some creeps. But other than that, I just wasn’t invested in the journey of the protagonist or his son, both of whom contribute to the parallel running tracks of the film.
By the time the concept of astral projections kicks in, it is already too late and I was barely going through the motions hoping the torture would end soon. Not once was I scared or even remotely shutting my eyes(oh I did this though as I was sleepy) and that is such a shame for the final film of the franchise that was regarded as iconic, once upon a time. The final act(even with events before that) is meant to be such a cash grab with even horror cliche being thrown in the mix. Just as a note, monsters were long tongue and ridiculous makeup aren’t scary. What are we 10 years old? Overall, the screenplay is such a mess that it just cannot be salvaged. A timely reminder on how you cannot take the viewers for granted!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite bland to have any sort of an impact. The BGM is too loud and it literally kills the mood of a horror film. The focus should have been on creating a moody atmospheric ambience of fear as opposed to integrating jumpscares. When will the makers ever learn?? The cinematography is decent, the VFX is alright. That said, the lighting of the film needed to be a lot better as it was hard to place the characters in darkness. Director Patrick Wilson fails in his debut directorial venture. Yes, he did not have a proper script in place either but having said that, his approach to horror scenes was surprisingly low key and that didn’t create any sort of impact whatsoever. If I was distracted throughout the film then it also had to do with the poor direction that had a never-ending buildup and no payoff later on.
The performances are just about decent. Rose Byrne as Renai has a good presence and she does a decent job. Sinclair Daniel was pretty good and probably the only actor trying to make things work. Patrick Wilson as Josh was an extension of himself from The Conjuring franchise. I am at a point that if you randomly show me a frame from either of his performances across the two franchise, I will not be able to tell them apart. Ty Simpkins as Dalton just doesn’t exude any confidence in his role. His expressions were flat and he couldn’t instill any sort of fear through his mannerisms.
Insidious : The Red Door is probably the dullest horror film that I have watched in ages marking the end of the franchise on a mere whimper. Available in a theatre near you.