‘Insidious’ Films Ranked, Including ‘Insidious: The Red Door’  

The 5th installment in the Insidious cinematic universe is here, and we return to the Lambert family nine years later. We’ve been following these movies for 13 years now, and while some are definitely hits, others, not so much. Still, it’s an overall extremely enjoyable franchise that has us coming back for more. Unlike something like The Conjuring, in this one, we have three movies dedicated to one family, which is why we might be more attached to the entire Insidious universe. Even without the family, the recurring characters are great fun and always a delight to watch. Special shoutout to Elise, one of the most revered psychics in mainstream horror while also being over 70. Today we’ll be ranking the movies from worst to best based on the story, the grit, the violence, and the love because, ultimately, that’s the power that can save you. Just kidding, I mean, it is, but the important thing here is the scare factor. Here’s a ranking of all five movies from worst to best. 


Spoilers Ahead

5. Insidious: Chapter 3 

Coming in at number 5 is the story of Quinn and Elise’s return to being psychic. Already I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion, but hear us out. Quinn is haunted by a wheezing ghost, who is frightful on his own as a ghost, but the story lacks originality, unlike most of the other films. The scares are lackluster, sometimes even hilarious, and Evil Dead Rise did the broken bone walk much better (for once, the one coming in later is better). This movie was rather redundant as far as the franchise is concerned. Yeah, it’s the one where Elise came up with the name “The Further” and discovered Specs and Tucker; it just feels a little juvenile overall. Also, the faceless-feetless soul crawling looked like it came right out of an episode of Doctor Who, which would be fine if it wasn’t a “horror” movie. 


4. Insidious: The Last Key 

Between the prequels, there is always debate in the fandom about which is better, Chapter 3 or The Last Key. While Chapter 3 is stronger in terms of story and maybe characters. The Last Key follows Elise’s story, and that’s the only reason it’s at number 4. They can be interchanged at any time. Lin Shaye is the driving force of this movie, and she’s incredible as the leading lady of a horror franchise, looking pretty badass, shoving broken things into demon’s noses. We understand what she went through in the past to get where she is. There’s also a lovely loop that connects this right back to movie number 1, which is a fun way to end things (even though it wasn’t the end). It’s a shame we didn’t get to explore the relationship between Elise and her brother Christian more, and it’s possible we might have ranked this movie much higher if it had been him that Elise had to save from KeyFace. 

3. Insidious: The Red Door 

While nothing much happens in this film, it’s almost as if Leigh wanted to introduce the franchise to a newer audience but also wanted older fans to enjoy it, so the balance got lost there. Patrick Wilson is almost as good as James Wan at directing, and for a debut, he does a solid job; considering all the horror movies he’s been in, it makes complete sense. Additionally, the scene in the MRI scan was so well done, and if we had the chance to see more of those, it could’ve packed a punch. What this movie lacks is a story and mainly the Insidious twist. It spends too much time trying to establish everything that’s happened in the past ten years that there’s not enough time in The Further. The callbacks to Chapters 1 & 2 are fantastic, some of the art stuff is incredible to look at, and overall this movie is enjoyable, almost like a drama film about an estranged father and son. Maybe like Scream, the next one will be better? If there is a next one, of course. It’s probably the nostalgia that makes this one extra fun, and the fact that the entire cast has returned to play their roles is fantastic. A shame that we don’t really get to see Specs and Tucker, but Chris is a great new addition to the franchise anyway. This movie also has some beautiful cinematography. 


2. Insidious: Chapter 2 

Another very unpopular opinion, but I think the original two movies are very strong together. Maybe, it’s a bias towards James Wan’s direction that makes me say that, but there’s more suspense and the jumpscares are far more effective too! Additionally, the handheld shots in the first two films are really enjoyable and make you feel closer to the Lambert family. Most importantly, rather than anything else, we root for this family from start to finish. It doesn’t matter who the demon/entity/monster is that’s out to get them, they need to survive. A typical thing in horror movies, but some don’t manage to establish a family bond as good as this one. Of course, the “Shining-esque” chase is nothing new, it’s still effective. A little lacking in pacing, this one could’ve moved a lot quicker to be even better. The reason a lot of people don’t love this one is that Parker doesn’t come across as malevolent as he’s put out to be in Chapter 1, but it gives a unique angle to his story, while also helping the family actually end Parker’s misery and forgetting everything that happened with them. We think it’s a good enough sequel. 

1. Insidious 

This doesn’t come as a surprise as this is the start of the franchise, fresh, original, and extremely satisfying with one of the most terrifying endings in recent horror cinema. We can’t go without talking about the infamous dining table scene or when Dalton wakes up during the seance and throws the table and the people around it. The tiptoe song will never not be scary and it definitely adds to the tense atmosphere of this fantastic first film. Except for the fact that the demon design is a little juvenile and once he’s completely revealed, he becomes half as scary, there’s a fleshed-out story and some great twists in this film. There’s a reason it’s become such a beloved franchise. The film also does a great job of establishing the family, Elise, Specs and Tucker. It has the vibe of a mockumentary but also feels like just a film and that’s a fun way to spice things up. Additionally, the way Chapter 2 and Chapter 1 tie in together with the things happening in The Further, make them the best of the lot for sure. Nothing can beat this one in terms of the jumpscares as well and the loud piano sound will forever be etched in our brains as the “Insidious sound”. 


What do you think of our ranking? Would you rank the movies the same or would you switch it up entirely? We’d love to know! 

Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.


Latest articles