Insidious: The Red Door movie review (2023)

“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.