Insidious: The Red Door - The Real Reason Patrick Wilson Wanted To Direct The 5th Film - Exclusive Interview

"Insidious: The Red Door," the fifth entry in the endlessly creepy horror franchise, returns us to the lives of the Lambert family, who were at the center of terrible supernatural manifestations in the first two films but were almost entirely absent from "Insidious: Chapter 3" (2015) and "Insidious: The Last Key" (2018).

When we last saw the Lamberts at the end of "Insidious: Chapter 2" (2013), Josh (Patrick Wilson) and his eldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), survived several trips into the demonic realm known as the Further, only to have their recollections of those terrifying events hypnotically suppressed. Some 10 years later, Josh and his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) are divorced. Josh — plagued by a sense of parts missing from his life — doesn't see his kids very often, and Dalton is headed off to college. But even as Dalton and Josh struggle to salvage their relationship, the Further comes back to haunt them again and awaken the memories that have been buried for a decade.

While original "Insidious" director James Wan and screenwriter and "Chapter 3" director Leigh Whannell are still on board as producers (with Whannell conceiving the story for "The Red Door"), they've handed the directing reins this time to star Patrick Wilson, who makes his feature directorial debut after a long association with Wan that has included major roles in the "Aquaman" and "The Conjuring" franchises.

Wilson told Looper in our exclusive interview that he felt fully supported by his frequent director Wan to make "The Red Door" his own — which is what convinced him to come back to the world of "Insidious" and the Further after 10 years. "They let me explore and make it very personal," he said. "It's my movie. It's the story that I wanted to tell."

Directing an Insidious movie 'made sense' for Patrick Wilson

What made this the right pick for your first feature as a director? Was there a comfort level in working with people and producers you knew? Did all that go into your thinking?

Yes, yes, and yes. It made sense. Rarely do you get the opportunity for your first one out of the gate to be a film that you could craft to your own personal liking, themes that you wanted to explore, with producers that I know very well, that their track record is amazing in this space — you knew that the film would be taken care of.

There's also safety in that it's the fifth movie of a franchise. You're like, "When does a fifth movie reignite a franchise?" Or, "When can you push it forward? How do you make it interesting?" The answer is, "Go for it." That's what they said.

They knew I had such respect for the first two ... respect for all the films, but the two that I was in, I wanted to bookend [them]. I wanted to ask the question of, "What happens at the end of the second film? What does that do to people?" They let me explore and make it very personal. That way, there's a real safety in that — because regardless of the success of the film or who likes it [or] doesn't like it, it's truthful. It's my movie. It's the story that I wanted to tell.

That's what success is to me — being able to have that type of working relationship and to be seen on a screen. That seems silly to say, but that is the goal of making movies, and rarely do you get that opportunity right now in this marketplace. I was super fortunate. It's such a gift.

Patrick Wilson has had directing on his mind

Was directing on your to-do list for a while? Was it something you'd been thinking about?

I've been looking for probably about 10 years. I started to write something — I wrote something with a friend of mine. We tried to get that made, but it was much more in the Coen Brothers' wheelhouse than a horror film. I didn't know what genre it would be, and ... I knew the time commitment that it takes to make a film, so I always had to weigh that option, and I never wanted to do something just to say I did it. It's not about some kind of personal glory.

I've been wanting to direct for a long time, and I've worked with young actors in workshops and directed theater. I knew that was going to be a part of my life. Like most things with me, you have to look at the opportunities that you're given but put yourself in a situation that when the door opens, you're there. That was this for sure.

"Insidious: The Red Door" creeps into theaters on Friday, July 7.

This interview has been edited for clarity.