Insidious is back to dominate the horror genre once more, with original stars Patrick Wilson and Ty Simpkins leading the cast of long-awaited sequel The Red Door.
The story picks up with Dalton Lambert (Simpkins) starting university in a negative headspace, struggling with a recent loss in the family and estrangement from his father, Josh (Wilson).
Of course, viewers will know this all stems from some traumatic incidents in their past, when demonic entities from a realm called The Further sought to possess them both.
There are two ways to enjoy the Insidious franchise – in release order and chronologically – and we'll list both here to help you plan your spooky movie marathon.
Both methods are perfectly valid, with no major plot points spoiled by watching the prequels first, as is the case with many other long-running franchises. Here's what you need to know.
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Insidious movies in release order
Nice and simple: just follow the order below to watch all the Insidious movies in the order that cinema-goers did as they were being released.
- Insidious (2010)
- Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
- Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)
- Insidious: The Last Key (2018)
- Insidious: The Red Door (2023)
Insidious movies in chronological order
With two prequels in the series to complicate things, here's how to enjoy the Insidious movies in the order they take place within this horrifying shared universe.
Insidious: Chapter 3
Insidious: Chapter 3 is the earliest entry in the franchise timeline, taking place years before the Lambert haunting depicted in the first two films. Screenwriter Leigh Whannell made his directorial debut with this feature, which served as the launchpad for later efforts including 2018's underrated action flick Upgrade and 2020's acclaimed reboot of The Invisible Man.
The plot revolves around an evil figure in an oxygen mask known only as "The Man Who Can't Breathe" as he goes up against accomplished parapsychologist Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). The charismatic psychic has long dealt with bad spirits and – despite her desire to put it all behind her – soon learns that only she can help save troubled teenager Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott).
Where to watch: Buy Insidious Chapter 3 on Blu-Ray at Amazon
Insidious: The Last Key
A sequel to Chapter 3, but still a prequel to the first two movies, Insidious: The Last Key tells another story with fan favourite character Elise Rainier. She returns to her childhood home – where she was abused by her cruel father – when the new owner reports strange and frightening signs of a malevolent presence.
Creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell handed the directing reins to Adam Robitel (Escape Room) for this entry, which unfortunately reaped the least favourable reviews of the Insidious franchise to date. That said, it does offer some major revelations about Elise's origins that will prove interesting to those invested in the unlikely hero.
The Last Key also connects directly to the first Insidious movie, making it a great primer for that spooky flick.
Where to watch: Buy Insidious: The Last Key on DVD at Amazon
The original – and still the best – Insidious movie stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as the parents of a comatose boy who leaves medical professionals utterly bewildered. Little do they know he is being used as a vessel for malevolent spirits that want to wreak havoc on the land of the living. As the iconic line says: "It's not the house that's haunted, it's your son."
Insidious was a success upon release with the film being largely praised by critics and the scares coming thick and fast throughout. It remains a fantastic watch, with strong performances from Wilson, Byrne and Shaye, as well as some of the best scoring and sound design to hit mainstream horror in recent memory.
Where to watch: Buy Insidious on Blu-ray at Amazon
Insidious: Chapter 2
Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne returned for the second Insidious movie, which picks up directly after the first. Despite their best efforts to rid themselves of the entities hounding them, the Lambert family remains very much connected to The Further – a dark and dangerous world where restless spirits wander.
The first film is essential viewing in order to make heads or tails of this one, as the stories are interconnected in a rather ingenious way. This is a weaker entry overall, with some jarring tonal shifts and a greater reliance on jump scares, but the final act makes for quite visceral viewing.
While by no means perfect, Chapters 1 and 2 form a satisfying duology all on their own.
Where to watch: Buy Insidious 1 and 2 on Blu-Ray at Amazon
Insidious: The Red Door
Patrick Wilson and Ty Simpkins return to the roles of Josh and Dalton Lambert, who have become estranged in the decade since the traumatic events of Chapter 2. Starting university could be a great opportunity for Dalton to turn over a new leaf after a loss in the family, but instead, it triggers a reconnection to The Further – and the evil that lurks within.
While Rose Byrne and Lin Shaye do make fleeting appearances here, the focus is primarily on the struggling father-and-son, plus newcomer Sinclair Daniel as Dalton's roommate, Chris, who provides some comic relief. Notably, Wilson performs double-duty on this entry, serving as director as well as one of its main stars.
Are the Insidious and The Conjuring movies connected?
Although they share a star in the form of Patrick Wilson, the Insidious movies are not part of The Conjuring universe.
The former stars Wilson as troubled father-of-three Josh Lambert, while in the latter he portrays real-life paranormal investigator Ed Warren.
There's little chance of the two franchises merging, with Insidious being distributed by Sony Pictures while The Conjuring franchise is housed at Warner Bros.
Producer Jason Blum has previously expressed interest in blending Insidious with Sinister – another horror series dabbling in demonic entities – but this project appears to have stalled.
He told CinePop in June 2023: "We did develop it for a while, but we could never come up with a great movie. And I didn't want to make a movie just for the sake of combining the two franchises.
"I wanted to make a movie that was really good. We never came up with a great idea, but I'm open."
Insidious: The Red Door is in UK cinemas from Friday 7th July 2023. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our Streaming Guide and TV Guide to find out what's on.