Insidious (2010) Ending Explained – Does Josh get rid of the Old Woman?

Insidious Plot Synopsis

Insidious is a horror film directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell. It centers on the Lambert family, specifically their son Dalton who, after an accident in their new home, falls into a coma. However, this isn’t a typical coma; Dalton’s spirit is trapped in a realm called The Further.

The family seem to have exhausted all options and eventually seek the help of a psychic named Elise Rainier, who reveals that Dalton has the ability to astral project, and his spirit has become lost in a place called The Further.

As the family grapples with a series of supernatural occurrences, they must find a way to retrieve Dalton’s spirit and save him from the malevolent entities in The Further before it’s too late.

What is astral projection and how is it important to the story?

Astral projection refers to the ability of a person’s spirit or consciousness to travel outside of their physical body. In Insidious, Dalton possesses this unique ability, often traveling to The Further in his dreams. We see a brief snippet of this earlier in the movie when Dalton’s drawings are praised by his dad, Josh.

At this point we think that it’s simply Dalton drawing a superhero but in reality, this is him drawing his astral projections, something he inherited from Dalton himself.

However, during one of Dalton’s astral journeys, he ventures too far and becomes lost, leading his physical body to appear as if it’s in a coma. Unfortunately, a malicious demon has captured him and has come close to taking his physical body. This demon happens to be the series’ overarching antagonists.

What is the demon in Insidious?

The demon in Insidious is called The Lipstick-Face Demon, or, as the characters in the first film call him, “The Man with the Fire in His Face”. He is characterized by his red face, sharp claws, and a penchant for sharpening his nails and listening to old-timey music, particularly the song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”

This demon resides in The Further and is one of the most menacing entities there. He wants to possess Dalton’s body so he can experience the pleasures and pains of the living world. Throughout the film, his presence is associated with terror.

Unlike some of the other spirits in The Further, the Lipstick-Face Demon has malevolent intentions. He keeps Dalton chained in his lair in The Further, intending to use the boy’s physical body as a vessel.

This guy is a major threat not just to Dalton but to anyone who ventures into The Further. His malevolence and power contrast with the other wandering souls, emphasizing the peril that the Lamberts face in trying to retrieve Dalton. In fact, toward the end of the film there’s a particularly bone-chilling scene of him crawling along the wall after Josh and Dalton.

Who are the entities in The Further, and what do they want?

The Further is a dark, foggy realm filled with the souls of the dead, many of whom are trapped or tormented. These souls can range from benign, lost spirits to malevolent entities. Throughout the film we see snippets of them in both houses that the happen to be occupying.

Initially, the Lamberts believe their house is haunted, prompting them to move. However, they soon discover that it isn’t the house that’s haunted, but their son Dalton. His ability to astral project and his entrapment in The Further make him a beacon for these spirits – especially the malevolent ones.

“The Man with the Fire in His Face” wants to possess Dalton’s physical body to live again but the other entities are also drawn to Dalton’s empty body as a vessel. The longer he’s away from his physical body, the greater the chance of something taking control of Dalton.

What is the relationship between the old woman and Josh?

The old woman, also known as the Bride in Black, has a deep and haunting connection with Josh. From a young age, Josh had the ability to astral project, much like his son Dalton. As he slept, his spirit would travel and explore The Further. This drew the attention of the old woman, who saw Josh as a potential vessel to possess.

Throughout Josh’s childhood, the old woman tried to get closer to him. As seen in the film, photographs of Josh as a child show the spectral image of the old woman becoming increasingly closer, signalling her intent to possess his body.

Due to these haunting experiences, Elise was brought in by Josh’s mother to help. Elise, recognizing the danger, assisted in suppressing Josh’s memories of his astral projection abilities and his encounters with the old woman. This suppression was meant to protect Josh, making him less vulnerable to the entities in The Further.

What is Elise’s role in all of this?

Elise Rainier is a gifted psychic and a long-time friend of the Lambert family, especially Lorraine, Josh’s mother. Elise has the ability to sense and communicate with entities from The Further. Given her past experience helping young Josh with his haunting encounters, she’s the family’s go-to when they realize Dalton is in supernatural danger.

Elise serves as the guide to the world of the supernatural for both the Lamberts and the audience. She provides exposition about The Further, astral projection, and the dangers that lie therein. Her role is crucial in the climax when she assists Josh in navigating The Further to rescue Dalton.

Does Josh manage to exorcise the Old Woman?

To save his son, Josh uses his own latent ability to astral project (which he rediscovered with Elise’s help) to enter The Further. He confronts the Lipstick-Face Demon and manages to rescue Dalton, guiding his spirit back to the living world.

However, upon returning, as Josh rescues Dalton and they return to their bodies, it’s revealed that the old woman has seized the opportunity. She possesses Josh’s body, effectively trapping his consciousness in The Further.

The film’s climax is chilling as we see “Josh” (now under the control of the old woman) strangle Elise after she senses the possession. This twist ending sets up the premise for the sequels, leaving the fate of the Lambert family hanging in the balance.


What are the underlying themes of the movie?

Insidious is a neat little twist on the haunted house genre, answering one of the big questions around hauntings – “If it’s so bad, why don’t you just move?”

James Wan’s film also touches on ideas of family, the unknown realm of the afterlife, and the idea that some talents can be both a gift and a curse. The movie delves into the lengths parents will go to protect their children, as well as the inherent fears associated with the unknown, especially when it concerns the afterlife and malevolent entities.

In essence, Insidious masterfully switches up traditional haunted house tropes (given the jump scare during the day!) with unique takes on astral projection and the afterlife, creating a suspenseful narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

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