Over the course of 13 years and five movies, the Insidious franchise has spread the tendrils of The Further and its demonic inhabitants through the box office – to huge financial success for Blumhouse. Patrick Wilson has been there looking terrified on the screen for most of that time and with Insidious 5, he has stepped behind the camera for the first time.
But there’s something else different about Insidious for Wilson this time. Yes, he’s the director of what hopes to be one of the best horror movies of the year, but he also gets to use another of his special skills by providing vocals for the end credits. He joins the rock band Ghost for a haunting track, which you’ll be able to hear when the Insidious 5 release date arrives.
Of course, the star has credentials with the best musicals, having received Tony Award nominations for his work on both Oklahoma! and The Full Monty. One of his first big screen roles was as Viscount Raoul de Chagny in the 2004 movie version of The Phantom of the Opera. So, with that in mind, Insidious: The Musical is a no-brainer, right?
“Singing on the end credit track with Ghost was a huge bonus dream. Listen, there’s a real through-line with horror and metal and hip-hop. So who knows?” Wilson told The Digital Fix. Look, it’s not a denial, and so we’re taking it.
He added: “I couldn’t imagine what an Insidious musical would be. That being said, I didn’t think I’d be back here for number five, directing it and in it. So, you know, never say never.”
It’s still not a no. You heard it here first. Expect jazz hands in The Further and a tear-jerking ballad from Lin Shaye’s Elise in the next few years. We can’t wait.
But back in the present day, Insidious 5 picks up the story of Insidious Chapter 2 – the previous two new movies were prequels starring Shaye – and returns to the Lambert family. Josh (Wilson) and Dalton (Ty Simpkins) have forgotten their astral projection abilities for their own good, but The Further and its malevolent forces can’t resist pulling them back into the darkness.
Wilson has spent the last decade on this franchise learning from horror maestros like James Wan and Leigh Whannell. He explained that their guidance was invaluable as he took up the mantle of director, but also said that there’s no firm handbook for how to make Insidious movies work.
“I don’t know if there are a lot of tricks. It’s all in the setup, dealing in rules of three and when you can mix it up for the audience. How to build tension, how to build a scare, when you need music, when you don’t need music,” he said.
“Setting up a good scare is like an action sequence in that it has to be technically perfect, and of course, that’s difficult to do. It takes time, and these schedules don’t allow for a lot of time, so you have to be as efficient as you can.”
But what about The Further itself? With his new role demystifying the ghouls and beasties of the best ghost movies even more than they were before, surely it’s difficult for Wilson to get scared these days? As it turns out, yes.
“It’s not my job to be [scared]. Typically, when I get scared as a person, I don’t react like that. That would be interesting in a horror movie. I would probably just get very quiet and still, which is not as effective in a horror movie. The fun is me trying to scare you, trying to imagine what’s gonna be scary and how to keep people on their toes.”
Wilson certainly manages that in Insidious 5, conjuring some terrific sequences and killer jump scares. Lipstick-Face Demon is back, and the crimson creeper is even more horrifying than ever before. Fortunately, Lin Shaye is also back as the medium Elise, though she’s far more peripheral this time than in the recent movies. After all, she did die at the end of the first one.
“It was my idea to have her in there like she is. She has been the lynchpin, or the Lin-pin I will say, of the whole franchise,” said Wilson.
“I wanted to put her in a much different situation to what we have ever seen Elise in. It didn’t have to be a long sequence, but I just want to put her in a new light. This is 10 years after Josh killed her, so where does that leave her? It was very careful planning for me to figure out how I wanted to best use her. I think it’s a nice touch for an audience.”
Even if Insidious: The Musical doesn’t happen – though we’re firmly in favor of it – Wilson thinks his movie has “opened the door” for even more adventures involving Elise in The Further. After five films, there’s absolutely no sign of Insidious coming to an end, it seems. We’re still betting on that musical. Next stop: Broadway.
For more of this wicked world, check out our guide explaining how to watch the Insidious movies in Order. We’ve also got guides to the best vampire movies, the best Netflix horror movies, and the best zombie movies ever made. You can also find out why the best horror movie villain ever is saying goodbye and learn all about how to be a final girl in 2023.