Josh In ‘Insidious: The Red Door,’ Explained: Why Has Josh Been So Lost In The Past 10 Years?

Insidious: The Red Door, the new addition in our beloved horror franchise, follows the same old Lambert family from 1 and 2, leaving us nostalgic but a little bit bummed. The pacing of the story is what majorly fails, along with the fact that it fails to deliver a twist in the loop in the Insidious style we love so much. Added to that, there’s no new threat, and the old one is much less frightening ten years later. What stands out are the performances of the two leads. It’s got some fantastic shots, and Patrick Wilson really has some cool tricks up his sleeve as far as the horror genre is concerned. As a big fan of the first two films, I was really looking forward to seeing the same cast return, and they did not fail to impress. The backbone of this story is the relationship between Dalton and Josh, who have drifted apart after having erased the traumatic experience and The Further entirely from their minds. While Dalton is functioning fine after this, Josh is in a haze. We can assume that his age is the reason it’s affected him more, but Josh is distant from his family, foggy in memory, and it seems he also has a lot of pent-up rage.

Spoilers Ahead

What Is Josh Dealing With?

During the past ten years, Renai has divorced Josh, and they live separately. This has affected him terribly because there was nothing else he wanted in his life. To have a family and be a good father. Unlike his own experience, he wanted to be present for his kids and bring them up with love. Instead, with the memories of The Further erased, the most important thread that tied him to his son Dalton was severed, leaving them sore. After all this, he lost his mother too, the only family he had before Renai. This leaves Josh completely broken. So, when Renai suggests he drive Dalton to school, he agrees to do it so that he can fix the severed thread. What Josh had always needed was closure for the big hole his father left in his life. While he’s with Dalton, all he can keep reminding him is that at least he has a father to rely on. Josh feels genuinely hurt that he didn’t make it on Dalton’s art wall. He calls him ungrateful because Dalton calls him out for not knowing anything about him or the rest of the family. While Josh admits he hasn’t been there for them mentally, he doesn’t appreciate that Dalton can’t see the effort he’s trying to make otherwise. Of course, Josh later realizes he’s making a mistake by not listening and goes ahead and gets tested to see if he’s physiologically sound. Arguably the best scene of the film, the MRI scan really awakens something in him, and he’s baffled by the idea that there may be mental illness in his family.

When his father finds him, Josh is completely taken aback because he has no memory of seeing ghosts. When he sees the box in his hand entitled Ben Burton, he is essentially handed over his survival kit. Since Josh knew so little about his father, he was under the impression that he had abandoned him, but with the help of the photos in his hand and the research that he does on Ben Burton, he realizes that the man is his father. Ben never abandoned Josh; he thought he was helping him by committing suicide. Ben had been diagnosed as schizophrenic thanks to his wandering soul habits, so his wife Lorraine had no idea how to help him, leaving him at the hospital. Unfortunately, this didn’t do any good, and Ben killed himself in the hope that he would take the demons with him. Instead, he just left the doors open for Josh. Knowing this changes everything for Josh, who now sees that his mother is keeping things from him. This leads him to talk to Renai, who finally admits that there is something she is hiding too. What Josh doesn’t realize is that the decision to have his and Dalton’s memories erased was his own!

Finding out all the things about his father has him concerned that he is “crazy” (uff), and he just hopes he didn’t pass this thing down to his children. Renai finally tells him the truth about why she divorced him, and Josh is puzzled that she thought they couldn’t have worked around it together. While it seems there’s still lingering love between the two of them, the worry and trauma that were brought on by Josh when he tried to kill them all obviously had the largest impact on Renai. Of course, she knew it wasn’t really Josh, but that would not be something to explain to the kids so easily. All they saw was their father trying to kill them. She had to go through it all and then even lie to her sons about that night, pretending it never happened. If only they had all gotten help together, it might have changed everything (and we wouldn’t have gotten the red door, possibly). Ultimately, the only way for Josh to come back to his senses is by facing the thing that he chose to forget.

It’s a full-circle moment for Josh as he realizes that he is actually a lot like his father, and that’s okay. He decides to stay back in The Further so Dalton can go back to his body and survive! Fortunately, Dalton has a plan to bring Josh back too, and ultimately they both survive. In the meantime, Josh also gets to see his father in a better light since he literally becomes the light that helps him get back to his body. Ben has always been with Josh; he was just too blind to see it. Finally, Josh and Dalton are able to go back to old times, and they’re probably going to get some help for everything they’ve been through. Or maybe Dalton’s art is therapy enough.

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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.

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