All ‘Insidious’ movies, ranked

Lin Shaye Insidious

The jaw-dropping horror franchise Insidious first terrified audiences back in 2010 with director James Wan’s introductory film Insidious. Since the spine-tingling tale about astral projection, there have been four movies in the franchise thus far, with a fifth installment already on the way. The first two films in the franchise focus on the Lambert family — including the father and son duo Josh and Dalton Lambert — who have the ability to astral project in their sleep and transfer to an otherworldly dimension known as the Further.

The inclusion of franchise veteran Elise Rainier proved to be successful for the franchise, with the latter two movies focusing on Rainier cases outside of the Lambert’s, along with her initial upbringing and realization of her psychic gift as a child.

While some entries in the franchise are undoubtedly stronger than others, there are no awful contenders on the table. All of the movies, despite favorable reviews and box office success, have offered up their own usefulness to the franchise’s overall story and direction. Before Insidious 5 makes its mark in the horror world, here’s our definitive ranking of all of the Insidious movies.

4. Insidious: Chapter 3

Image via Blumhouse

After the enormous success of Insidious and Insidious 2, the bold decision was made for the third film to divert from the plot of the first two movies and focus on the chance for a prequel. As a result, Insidious 3 follows franchise favorite Elise Rainier taking on a case seven years before the events in the Lambert family — which would also be many years after Elise initially helped Josh Lambert when he was a young child. In the film, Elise Rainier — portrayed by the talented Lin Shaye — is asked to help teenager ​​Quinn Brenner and her father after the duo experience paranormal activity in their apartment.

As previously mentioned, there really is no awful film in the franchise, although Insidious: Chapter 3 definitely sits at the bottom of the pile. And while Stefanie Scott’s performance as Quinn is definitely one of the high points of the movie, its limp jump scares and lackluster terror fail to match the fear and importance of other entries.

3. Insidious: The Last Key

Lin Shaye Insidious
Image via Blumhouse

Serving as the official sequel to Insidious: Chapter 3, Adam Robitel’s Insidious: The Last Key once again pits franchise veteran Elise Rainier front and center for the engaging plot — which intriguingly tells the story of Elise’s troubled childhood and the eventual realization of her spiritual talent. Elise eventually returns to her childhood home as an adult to assist her nieces Melissa and Imogen and her brother Christian, who also experienced paranormal occurrences in their house as a child.

Insidious: The Last Key really benefited from allowing Lin Shaye to take center stage, and even resulted in the movie grossing $167 million worldwide, which served as the highest grossing film in the franchise to date. The movie includes a fresh faced monster from the Further and perfectly showcase the terror that Elise has experienced throughout her life, which in turn, terrifies the audience just as much.

2. Insidious: Chapter 2

Patrick Wilson in Insidious
Image via Blumhouse

As far as sequels are concerned, Insidious: Chapter 2 is a faithful contender as far as the horror genre goes. The follow-up film carefully dissected the origin of Josh Lambert’s astral projection ability, which he unknowingly passed on to his son Dalton as we learn in the prior movie. The sequel dives further (no pun intended) into the otherworldly dimension that harbors malevolent spirits and dark entities that wish to take over human souls. Through paranormal investigations from Specs and Tucker and Josh’s wife Renai, the trio discover that Josh is being possessed by a vengeful spirit from his childhood.

The sequel showcased a handful of standout performances, including Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as Josh and Renai Lambert. Fans also get a closer look into the Further and the terrifying creatures that lurk within the shadows of another realm. While some fans may argue that Insidious: Chapter 2 was fine as a stand-alone film, it certainly provides a credible backstory that honors the sheer terror and excitement of the original.

1. Insidious

Image via Blumhouse

It’s hard to compete with the original, especially when it comes to knock-out horror franchises like Insidious. James Wan’s introductory horror extravaganza kick-started the bizarre and fear-provoking story of a family haunted by hidden abilities that are susceptible to paranormal experiences. The Lambert family are full of strong-headed characters — especially, Josh and Renai — who only want the best for their family and to escape a hellish nightmare that they could have never prepared for. And when Elise is introduced in the very first movie, viewers immediately fell in love with her dedication and motivation to help a family in need.

Insidious achieved enormous success despite being made under a budget of $2 million in total. And even though the movie failed to touch $100 million, it has established a strong cult following throughout the years as one of the best films in modern cinematic horror. Its authentic jump scares and terror-inducing moments are just as juicy to new fans as they were to those that sat in the theater for the movie on opening night. It remains the absolute best of the franchise and is guaranteed to chill the spines of horror lovers around the world.