Every moviegoer (or, at least, ones who enjoy horror movies, I should say) has a great, lasting memory about seeing a creepy classic at the theater, and 2011’s Insidious is one such fun and frightening experience I will never forget. I would even call the story of a school teacher (Patrick Wilson) and his wife (Rose Byrne), taunted by relentless, malevolent spirits after their son (Ty Simpkins) mysteriously falls into a coma one of the best horror movies to ever come from director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell (the duo also behind the original Saw).
Some of the Insidious cast would go on to become genre mainstays (if they were not already) and are confirmed to appear in the upcoming fifth installment of the franchise. We will name who as we dive “further” into their career highlights, starting with a bonafide “Scream King.”
Patrick Wilson (Josh Lambert)
Leading the Insidious cast would take Emmy-nominee Patrick Wilson (already acclaimed for the Oscar-nominated Little Children, for instance) to new heights, especially after reteaming with James Wan in 2013 for the first of several Conjuring movies as Ed Warren. That would lead to plenty more horror thrillers that range from grounded (such as the brutal 2015 western Bone Tomahawk) to crazy (like Netflix’s In the Tall Grass in 2019).
Wilson will branch out into cosmic horror in 2022 with Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall, reunite with Wan again for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (his third DC movie after the 2018 original and 2009’s Watchmen), and will make his directorial debut with Insidious 5, in which he will also reprise Josh Lambert.
Rose Byrne (Renai Lambert)
Another superhero movies star from the Insidious cast is Patrick Wilson’s onscreen wife Rose Byrne - not that Moira Mactaggert in the X-Men movies is the Aussie’s defining role. In fact, the two-time Emmy nominee (for FX’s Damages), who also had thrillers like 28 Weeks Later and a Star Wars installment under her belt previously, is capable of doing everything from comedy (2011’s Bridesmaids, both Neighbors movies with Seth Rogen, and plenty others), drama (FX miniseries Mrs. America as Gloria Steinem), and a mix of both (2018’s Instant Family and Physical on Apple TV+).
She will continue expand on her talents by producing and acting in the musical-comedy Seriously Red and leading the tense fact-based drama They Are Us, but there is currently no word on if Byrne will appear in Insidious 5.
Lin Shaye (Elise Rainier)
Confirmed for Insidious 5, unsurprisingly (despite her onscreen death at the end of the first movie), is Lin Shaye for her fifth time playing medium Elise Rainier - the role that propelled her to much deserved Scream Queen status at 68, after already appearing in classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters, and Snakes on a Plane (if you want to count that one). You might also recognize the star as Cameron Diaz’s mother in There’s Something About Mary or, more recently, from Penny Dreadful: City of Angels in 2020.
Surprisingly, most of Shaye’s next projects (outside of Insidious 5 and Jackson Hole, which releases in December 2021) are not horror movies, including writer and director Sean Patrick Flanery’s crime drama Frank and Penelope and We are Gathered Here Today - a story inspired by Covid-19.
Barbara Hershey (Lorraine Lambert)
An Insidious cast member who previously dealt with an insidious spirit in 1982’s allegedly fact-based thriller, The Entity, before playing Josh Lambert’s mother, Lorraine, is Barbara Hershey, who is better known for lighter dramas like The Natural with Robert Redford or Hannah and Her Sisters.
However, the Oscar nominee is not without her dark roles outside of the Insidious franchise, such as in Black Swan, in the Once Upon a Time cast, on the Omen sequel series Damien, and, more recently, the Amazon original haunted house flick Manor. The actress will next appear in the crime thriller Nine Bullets, which is currently in post-production.
Ty Simpkins (Dalton Lambert)
Playing the young, unwitting astral projectionist Dalton Lambert marked the second time Ty Simpkins played Patrick Wilson’s son after Little Children. However, after starting out on soap operas such as One Life to Live when he was just an infant, it was Insidious that made him one of Hollywood’s most promising child stars, later appearing in Iron Man 3 in a role he would subtly reprise in Avengers: Endgame, as one of two brothers struggling to survive in Jurassic World, and in his recent return to horror with Where’s Rose in 2021.
In addition to playing Dalton again in Insidious 5, the now 20-year-old will next appear in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, is filming the comedy The Re-Education of Molly Singer, and plays the title role in the dramedy, Growing Up Gorman, which also stars another frequent James Wan collaborator: Madison Wolfe of The Conjuring 2 and Malignant fame.
Andrew Astor (Foster Lambert)
Before playing Dalton’s younger brother, Foster, in Insidious, Andrew Astor made his credited feature-film debuts part of the Hangover cast as Bradley Cooper’s son, following an impressive early career of guest spots on TV shows like Mad Men, Criminal Minds (as a young Spencer Reid in two episodes), ER, and How I Met Your Mother.
The only other theatrically released movie the young actor has appeared in is Insidious: Chapter 2, reprising his role as Foster Lambert, but I would not count on seeing Foster Lambert in Insidious 5 as Astor’s main job these days is producing music.
Angus Sampson (Tucker)
Australian actor Angus Sampson made his American movie debut in another cult horror flick (2003’s Darkness Falls) before playing Hot Pocket-munching paranormal investigator, Tucker, whom he has played in every Insidious movie, while also popping up in the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road as The Organic Mechanic or the Helen Mirren-led haunted house thriller Winchester in between.
You may have seen him in a recurring role in the Fargo Season 2 cast, as a series regular on Hulu’s Shut Eye, in an episode of CBS’ The Stand remake, or in 2021’s Mortal Kombat remake as the voice of Goro most recently. Whether or not he will appear in Insidious 5 is up in the air for now, but you can see him next in co-writer and director Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, and CBS’s upcoming series adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer.
Leigh Whannell (Specs)
Tucker’s partner in ghost hunting, Specs, was played by fellow Aussie Leigh Whannell, who also wrote Insidious and its three sequels (making his directorial debut with Insidious: Chapter 3), after he and director James Wan broke into the mainstream with Saw, which he also acted in. Despite starting off in the business as an actor (such as on Australian soap opera Neighbours and The Matrix Reloaded as Axel), and also appearing in recent films like Aquaman as a favor to his buddy Wan, Whannell is better known from behind the camera, having later written and directed Blumhouse’s brilliant remake of The Invisible Man in 2020.
He has two more remakes currently in the works (Wolfman with Ryan Gosling and an update of John Carpenter’s 1981 cult classic Escape from New York) and is working on a TV series adaptation of his 2018 sci-fi gem, Upgrade.
Joseph Bishara (Lipstick-Face Demon)
Leigh Whannell was not the only one pulling double duty on camera and behind the scenes for Insidious as the film’s composer, Joseph Bishara, also made his acting debut as the Lipstick-Face Demon - the terrifying main antagonist with a strong resemblance to Star Wars’ Darth Maul. The musician has since become, essentially, the John Williams to James Wan’s Steven Spielberg, as well as the Doug Jones to his Guillermo del Toro, collaborating with Wan on many film scores (such as most of The Conjuring movies, Malignant, and the trench sequence from Aquaman), and playing heavily-made-up evil entities for him (such as The Conjuring’s Bathsheba or as the demon possessing the titular doll in Annabelle).
He most recently did both for 2020 horror flick Dreamkatcher, composed the score for an upcoming thriller called The Free Fall, and I hope he returns in either capacity for Insidious 5.
Philip Friedman (Old Woman)
Another creepy, spiritual threat in Insidious who is especially possessive of Josh Lambert is the Old Woman, who was revealed to be the ghost of a cross-dressing serial killer (a la Ed Gein) in Insidious: Chapter 2. The ominously silent character was played originally by Phillip Friedman, whose earlier and most notable roles include “Customer” on a 2000 episode of 7th Heaven, “Older Doctor” on the short-lived ABC drama Eli Stone, and Sonny Klankman on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson V.P. with Keke Palmer.
Friedman most recently appeared in another horror movie called The Lady of the Dead (not as the title character, to be clear) and, as much as I would love to see him return for Insidious 5, his character’s later recasting and conclusive arc in Chapter 2 makes that reprisal unlikely.
Speaking of which, I would actually consider Insidious to be a bit of an unlikely success, being a horror film based on a completely original (and quite inventive) idea and making almost 100 times its budget worldwide. It is also usually unlikely for me to anticipate the fifth installment of any series, but with Patrick Wilson taking over one of the most popular horror movie franchises, I have never been more amused by the idea of returning to the Further.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.