The Insidious Franchise May Be Losing Its Star

Insidious: The Last Key

The Insidious franchise has been a financial and critical success, connecting with audiences as it built on a paranormal world created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell. The most recent chapter, Insidious: The Last Key, was actually the second chronological story in the timeline -- yeah, it was confusing -- and while interest is petering off a tad, it still made enough money to justify a fifth chapter. Only, if Insidious 5 happens, it likely will move forward without the creative spark provided by Whannell, as the screenwriter-actor admits:

I'm sure the second this film comes out I'm going to get a phone call from Jason Blum to say, 'All right, Insidious 5.' I'm not sure if I'm going to be involved in all honesty. I love the films and the franchise and it's been a good experience, but the question is always, 'Do I have anything to offer?' Maybe a fresh set of eyes is the best thing for this franchise if they're going to continue it. So we'll see.

This response from Leigh Whannell to Bloody-Disgusting as he promotes his directorial effort Upgrade is both disappointing and yet refreshingly honest. The franchise that James Wan and Leigh Whannell helped to craft in 2010 was hardly original. But the filmmakers understood how to burrow under the skin of horror audiences with deceptively simple tricks as they introduced the realm of The Further within the confines of a basic "haunted house" exercise.

What's refreshingly honest about it, though, is that if Leigh Whannell feels that he has run out of ideas to tell in the Insidious realm, it's best to not force the issue for the benefit of a paycheck -- which he no doubt would earn if Jason Blum were to come calling for an Insidious 5 -- and possibly let another writer take a stab at crafting an engaging story in this series. A fresh set of eyes can be a blessing to any series that has run through four movies. James Wan still manages to preside over Insidious and his Conjuring universe, even if he isn't directing each individual episode of the saga. Whannell saying that he might be ready to release the writing duties of a potential Insidious 5 could be the best thing that ever happened to the franchise moving forward.

That being said, Insidious 5 isn't a guarantee. The Blumhouse model keeps costs low, and profits relatively high. But because they are lean and mean, there's no real hiccup when they transition to a different franchise, be it The Purge, Glass or the rebooted Halloween. There are plenty of stories to tell, and Blumhouse isn't big on forcing sequels if the idea isn't there. Do you think Insidious 5 should happen? Vote in our poll.

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Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.