How to watch the Insidious series in chronological order

Ian Sandwell
·6-min read
Photo credit: Blumhouse
Photo credit: Blumhouse

From Digital Spy

The Insidious series is coming back for a fifth outing, so you might be hankering for a rewatch of the four movies to date.

As in the likes of fellow horror franchises The Conjuring and Halloween, watching the Insidious movies in chronological order isn't as straightforward as watching all four movies in release order (although they work that way too).

If you were really committed to watching the movies in order, you'd have to watch parts of each movie as there are flashbacks in most of them, along with some timey-wimey stuff in The Further where time doesn't move chronologically.

So to make things easier, we've stuck to the predominant setting for each Insidious movie, while mentioning the bits in each movie where things move around on the timeline.

Insidious: Chapter 3

Photo credit: eOne Films/Matt Kennedy
Photo credit: eOne Films/Matt Kennedy

Watch now: Amazon Prime Video | iTunes

Taking place at some point before the first movie, Insidious: Chapter 3 focuses on Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and the case of a teenager who's haunting by The Man Who Can't Breathe.

Initially, Elise refuses to help as she doesn't want to go again into The Further where she's convinced she's being hunted by The Bride in Black. She's convinced by a friend to continue using her psychic and spiritual ability though, leading to her meeting Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) for the first time.

They all work together, along with the teenager's dead mother, to defeat The Man Who Can't Breathe, and Elise decides to continue her work with new assistants Specs and Tucker.

The final scene sees The Lipstick-Face Demon pay Elise a visit, teasing her eventual battle with the evil entity in the first Insidious movie.

Insidious: The Last Key

Photo credit: Sony Pictures
Photo credit: Sony Pictures

Watch now: Amazon Prime Video | iTunes

Although it takes place after Chapter 3, Insidious: The Last Key goes back further than any other movie in the series as it flashes back to Elise's childhood in 1953.

Elise has her first demonic encounter as she's tricked into releasing KeyFace into the world, who kills her mother and possesses her father, turning him into a serial killer. Decades later, Elise has to go back to her childhood home when KeyFace starts to terrorise her estranged brother and his two daughters, Imogen and Melissa.

It's another trip into The Further for Elise, but this time against her will as KeyFace ambushes her and takes her spirit. Luckily, her niece Imogen has the same powers as Elise and, with the help of Specs and Tucker, Imogen saves Elise and then with the help of Elise's dead mother, KeyFace is defeated.

While trying to find Melissa's spirit in The Further, Elise unwittingly opens a door to the Lambert house as she sees Dalton. This door between The Further and the real world is left open, setting up the events of the first movie, but Elise manages to save Melissa, so that's something.

Elise makes up with her estranged brother and all is well. Until that night, she dreams of Dalton and The Lipstick-Face Demon. Elise gets a call from Josh's mother Lorraine about the problems facing her grandson and Elise agrees to help. She'll regret that...

Insidious

Photo credit: Momentum Films
Photo credit: Momentum Films

Watch now: Amazon Prime Video | iTunes | Netflix

Due to Elise's actions in The Last Key, Insidious sees the Lambert family – Josh (Patrick Wilson), Renai (Rose Byrne), Dalton (Ty Simpkins), Foster (Andrew Astor) and infant daughter Cali – being haunted by The Lipstick-Face Demon.

Dalton, unaware that he's an astral projector, has been travelling to The Further in his sleep and his spirit has been trapped there by The Lipstick-Face Demon. Luckily, it turns out that Josh has the same ability, but his memory of his childhood was suppressed to protect him from The Bride in Black.

Josh goes into The Further and manages to rescue Dalton from The Lipstick-Face Demon, although not before an encounter with The Bride in Black that tormented him as a child and wanted to possess him. Josh tells her to go away and leave him alone which, remarkably, looks like it worked.

Dalton and Josh wake up back in their bodies and the Lambert family is reunited. However, Elise notices something is wrong with Josh and when she takes a photo of him, she realises that Josh has been possessed by The Bride in Black.

Elise is strangled to death by 'Josh' and Renai discovers the body, as well as the photo that confirms Josh has been possessed. He appears behind her and the movie cuts to black... spoooooooky.

Insidious: Chapter 2

Photo credit: Alliance Films
Photo credit: Alliance Films

Watch now: Amazon Prime Video | iTunes | Netflix

Insidious: Chapter 2 takes place shortly after the first movie with Josh being investigated for the murder of Elise. It appears he doesn't remember being possessed by The Bride in Black and the Lamberts move into his mother's house, but continue to encounter demonic events.

The sequel travels back to 1986 when Elise first helped the Lambert family by protecting Josh from The Further and suppressing his ability. Specs and Tucker look into this case and see a video with an adult Josh standing behind Josh in the video.

With the help of a former colleague of Elise's, Specs and Tucker contact Elise's spirit who points them to the serial killer Parker Crane, who killed young women while dressed as a woman. In The Further, Josh's spirit is able to communicate with his younger self who shows them where Parker's spirit lives.

However, it's actually the spirit of Parker's abusive mother who had been telling him to kill and is The Woman in White that has been haunting Elise for years. Elise arrives just in time to defeat The Woman in White and Parker's spirit disappears.

The Lambert family is reunited again in the real world, with Josh and Dalton agreeing to have their memories suppressed again. Really, who can blame them?

Insidious 5

Release date: 2022

We don't know exactly what Insidious 5 will be about, but we do know that it'll be set a decade after Chapter 2.

It brings back Ty Simpkins as Dalton as he begins college, with Patrick Wilson (who's directing the movie and returning as Josh) teasing that it'll deal with the events of Dalton's childhood:

"Watching Dalton go to college and what does that do? Watching a young man go to college and all the new experiences and feeling like an outsider trying to fit in. He's got this ability that he doesn't even know that he has of being an astral projector and traveller.

"After so long, are we still hypnotised? Is there still that trance? What does that do to your life? What does that do to your marriage? And then what does that do for a father and son relationship?"

Insidious 5 is set to be released in 2022. Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 are available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

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