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The Ending Of Insidious The Red Door Explained

Contains spoilers for "Insidious: The Red Door"

The fifth installment to the "Insidious" franchise, "Insidious: The Red Door," is daring us to open the door once more. Patrick Wilson pulls double duty as he reprises his role as Josh Lambert and makes his directorial debut. After getting past his fear of directing, Wilson reunited with his original co-stars from "Insidious" and "Insidious: Chapter 2," Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, and Lin Shaye.

This time, the Lambert family is dealing with some of the same tormented souls as before, in addition to trying to escape their own tortured states. It's been almost a decade since we last saw the Lamberts, so it's understandable if you need help recalling the timeline.

We re-join the family as they are coping with several stressful life changes. Renai (Byrne) and Josh (Wilson) are now divorced. Josh's mother has just died, and Dalton (Simpkins), now 18, is going to college. All the while, Dalton and Josh feel as though sections of their lives are missing from their memory.

In this chapter, Josh and Dalton each go independently to find answers, but their paths will soon intertwine, unleashing an evil that they must fight to contain before it's too late.

What you need to remember about the plot of Insidious: The Red Door

It has been nine years since Josh and Dalton had to fight their way out of The Further (a shadowy dimension between heaven and hell where the most dangerous supernatural demons live.) With Josh and Renai now divorced, the family is a bit broken. Josh and Dalton have been living with a sense that there are secrets from their past they can't quite grasp. Psychic medium Carl (Steve Coulter) hypnotized Josh and Dalton to help repress their memories of astral projection, communing with the dead, and The Further. Being the only family member who remembers these events can't be easy for Renai. As a result, Josh's relationship with his sons is strained, and he desperately wants to fix that. He drives Dalton to college, hoping to connect with him, but the two are only pushed further apart.

With the help of an art class, Dalton starts to unlock that part of his memory Carl hid. At the same time, Josh starts to self-reflect and dig into his past, trying to get his head straight. Both father and son accidentally open the Red Door and release the Red-Faced Demon who tried to possess Dalton's body all those years ago.

The Lamberts sacrificed a lot to forget

Renai has been burdened with knowing the truth of Josh and Dalton's gifts and repressed memories for years. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. After all, it was the only way to stop evil spirits from coming into the human realm and possessing them — an easy choice to make, even if it proved to be only a temporary measure. But at what cost? With the cloud this has put over her family, she must question their choice. As far as everyone other than Renai is concerned, Dalton suffered from meningitis and was in a coma during that period of time. Dalton's younger siblings, Foster and Kali, were too young to fully recall the events' specifics, although Foster has a few confusing memories of his father's possession.

Since the divorce, Dalton feels resentment towards his father for leaving the family, while Foster doesn't understand why he has night terrors of Josh trying to murder the entire family. Josh has been feeling foggy for a few years, which concerns him enough to seek medical help. Dalton thinks that his now-deceased grandmother was keeping secrets while she was alive. Josh has no explanation for the wedge between him and his family, but he desperately wants it gone.

Art class proves to be healing for Dalton

On Dalton's first day of an art class, the teacher challenges the students to draw their ugly, most inner thoughts. She counts down from 10 as a form of hypnosis, which must undo what Elise had done years earlier, breaking through the psychic shield that had been protecting him all this time.

While in a trance-like state, Dalton sketches the Red Door. The Red Door serves as an entryway to the darkest part of the Further, where its most disturbing entities live. Unbeknownst to him, the Red-Faced Demon, who tried to possess his body as a child, lives behind this Door. The teacher asks if this door is meant to keep him in or out. Dalton has no answer, but he becomes obsessed with finding one.

He draws the Door again, but this time a man stands in front with a hammer. The face is distorted, so Dalton has yet to learn who it is supposed to be. We later find out it's his dad, poised to murder Dalton with a hammer while possessed by The Bride in Black.

On a different day in art class, the teacher tells them about 18th-century artist Francisco Goya and his painting "Saturn Devouring His Son." This painting was included in Goya's "Black Paintings," which all had haunting themes of his fear of insanity and bleak outlook on humanity. This artwork helps illustrate Josh's fear that he has some mental illness.

Unlock the door and unlock the trauma

Dalton starts seeing things and people that he can't explain. While he and his new friend Chris (Sinclair Daniel) attend a frat party, Dalton encounters the spirit of a dead frat boy, telling him to "close the door." He eventually realizes that he must be referring to The Red Door.

Later that night, Dalton accidentally projects into an astral plane. Something almost grabs him right before he returns to his body. Not understanding this, he enlists the help of Chris. She finds videos of Elise and her ghost hunters online that help explain astral projection and The Further.

While Dalton is learning about his abilities, Josh is attacked by a spirit he doesn't know. During the attack, he is briefly knocked into The Further and sees The Red Door. It becomes clear to both father and son that the Door is the key to unlocking their memories.

Josh discovers his true identity

Josh visits a neurologist to check if tumors are causing his mental fog. While in the MRI scanner, Josh sees a man crawling towards him, with a raspy voice on his medical walkie-talkie telling him, "The door is open" and "There's someone with you." Although Josh doesn't know it at the time, this spirit is alerting him that Dalton has opened the Red Door. After his accidental trip to The Further, Josh finds an old box of photos that belonged to his mother. In the photos, posed with his mom, is Ben Burton, the man responsible for knocking him into The Further in the first place.

After some digging, Josh discovers that this man, Ben Burton, is his father. Josh always assumed that his father abandoned them, but in reality, he died by suicide while committed to a psychiatric hospital. According to Ben's medical records, he had schizophrenia and spoke of his ability to astral project. He left a note that only read, "It ends with me."

In the first two chapters, we learned that astral projection is hereditary. Therefore, Josh must have gotten it from his father, Ben. Given the time when Ben was alive, he possibly thought the things he was seeing in the astral plane suggested a mental illness. He tried to save his son from whatever Ben thought was happening to him by ending his own life.

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What happened at the end of Insidious: The Red Door?

As he struggles to understand what he's learned about his father, Josh visits his ex-wife. Renai, unable to keep these dark family secrets, explains everything to Josh. Yes, The Bride in Black was driving his body, but all his children saw was their father trying to kill them. They all agreed that removing that horrific episode from Josh and Dalton's memories was for the best. When Foster shows his parents a photo of Dalton's drawing of the Door, they know he is in danger. Renai helps Josh go back into The Further.

Dalton, already in The Further, opens the Red Door to find The Red-Faced Demon waiting for him. The demon captures Dalton as he enters his body, leaving Chris to deal with a possessed Dalton.

Once again, Dalton is trapped and needs his dad to help him escape. They both get out of the demon's lair, but Josh has to hold the Red Door closed with the demon ferociously trying to get Dalton. At this point, Josh realizes he must keep this door closed. He is ready to sacrifice himself to let Dalton escape.

Once Dalton returns to his physical body, he smothers his Red Door drawing in black paint. This closes the door, allowing Josh to walk away. Even though Josh is safe from the demon, he is still lost in The Further until Ben appears with a lantern so that Josh can find his way back home.

What does the end of Insidious: The Red Door mean?

One prominent theme in this chapter is the fractured relationship between father and son: both Josh and Dalton, and Ben and Josh. Ben made the ultimate sacrifice, thinking it would save his son from what he found to be a curse. Similarly, Josh was also ready to give his life to ensure his son's safety.

Despite years of resentment and misunderstanding, Josh and Dalton work together to defeat the demon. Now that most of their memories have been restored, they should be able to work through all of their issues productively. There may be hope for them yet.

When Ben appears to Josh in The Further, Josh now realizes that Ben just wanted to protect him. Ben disappears shortly after giving Josh the lantern. Remember, tortured souls inhabit The Further. Now that he has reconnected with Josh and helped him, his original mission is accomplished. He has helped to protect his son, and now his soul can rest. For his part, Josh can let go of his own resentment towards his father. 

Are The Lamberts really safe?

As Josh leaves Renai's house, Elise appears to him on the street. He recognizes her, but he doesn't know from where. The memories of her must still be buried. When she tells him that she's his mom's friend, he mentions there are so many things he wants to tell her. Elise assures him he will get the chance, tells him to "keep a steady stride," and disappears. This doesn't scare or surprise Josh. Elise seems happy during this interaction, but she could be warning Josh. The family can now move towards healing, but work still needs to be done. Not only must they focus on keeping the literal demons away, but they also have to watch out for the more everyday struggles of rebuilding their family.

When we last see Dalton, he seems happier. Even his attire has switched from '90s Seattle grunge to the less gloomy '80s LA pop. He has painted and prominently hung a portrait of his father carrying him from The Further as he holds a lantern, a suppressed memory from his horrifying childhood experience that he can finally access. Having all the puzzle pieces, Dalton has forgiven Josh for years of what he mistook as neglect.

What the end of Insidious: The Red Door could mean for the franchise

This installment has been advertised as the conclusion and the final chapter. But is that really the case? This story does work quite nicely as a completion of The Lamberts' story. It ties up most loose ends and gives a feeling that the family will be alright. But let's be honest: Horror franchises are known to keep coming back for more. Plenty of other franchises have announced a "final chapter," only to pull audiences back in with another two or three films. As "Insidious: Chapter 3" and "Insidious: The Last Key" showed us, The Lamberts aren't the only ones tip-toeing through the tulips of The Further, and it's possible future movies could feature different protagonists.

A brief post-credit scene of the Red Door, which is now black, has the light above flickering back on. This tease for fans hints at more to come. The Red-Faced demon is not done with you just yet.

Is there a future for Dalton and Chris?

When Dalton meets a young woman named Chris after they are mistakenly assigned together as roommates, the two quickly bond and become friends. She convinces Dalton to attend a frat party simply for the purpose of tomfoolery. They are almost caught snooping by a couple of frat boys, so she fakes a makeout session to throw them off the scent. This takes Dalton aback, and his reaction suggests that this may have been his first kiss.

Both characters and actors have an easy chemistry that makes their friendship believable, making the audience want more. In an interview with GamesRadar, Simpkins recalls getting to know Daniel. "I remember the first time I met Sinclair, besides the audition, we were just sitting around a table and eating breakfast, and then we just started talking," he continues, "As the days went on, the conversations grew and got more in-depth and then we just became buddies."

Chris doesn't seem to scare easily and has proven willing and able to help Dalton through this trauma. The franchise could easily continue with new nightmares for the duo.

Insidious spin-off could keep tales coming

"Insidious: The Red Door" may be the conclusion of the Lamberts' story, but that doesn't mean there aren't more families to follow. Mandy Moore and Kumail Nanjiani were announced to star in "Insidious" franchise spin-off, "Thread: An Insidious Tale." This sixth installment will follow a husband and wife (Nanjiani and Moore) who have used a spell to try and prevent the death of their young daughter. "Moon Knight" creator Jeremy Slater will direct.

The man behind creating the worlds of "Insidious" and "The Conjuring," James Wan, told Screen Rant, "Thread basically kind of takes off from the world of The Further in the same way that when I look at my Conjuring films, I go, 'Hey, the Warrens have a haunted museum, there are so many different haunted artifacts that we can kind of spin-off stories from,' and Thread really is something in that same spirit." If this is the case, you know there will be plenty of jump scares and spooky tales to keep horror fans entertained for some time.