The Insidious film series is one of the most successful supernatural horror film franchises in the world. The first film had its theatrical release in 2011, Chapter 2 debuted in 2013, Chapter 3 in 2015, and the last installment, The Last Key, premiered in 2018.

Insidious’ success is largely based on its storyline and direction – the writers’ ability to create chilling suspense received widespread praise. The films might have average ratings on pages such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, but there is no denying that Insidious is one hell of an entertaining series.

The question on most people’s minds after watching a horror flick is whether it is based on real-life events. This piece will explore whether Insidious is based on a true story.

Insidious is not based on a true story, but some of the scare sequences are based on real-life occurrences

Insidious is the brainchild of famed writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan. The duo worked together on Saw, and came together again to create Insidious. The pair were approached by the producers of Paranormal Activity, who offered Leigh and Wan funding and complete control over a project.

Leigh and Wan were taken off-guard by the offer, but within a week, Leigh had started writing Insidious’ script. The inspiration behind Leigh and Wan’s writing was to create a psychological horror film without the blood gore of films such as Saw. Wan created Saw, and even though it was a success, it created a wrong perception in people’s minds about his creative abilities. He told Entertainment Weekly:

“Because I was the guy that created it [Saw], so my name is attached to the franchise, which I’m very proud of by the way. That was part of the reason why I went off and made Insidious because I wanted to prove to people that I could make a very classic, old-fashioned haunted house film and show that I could make scary films without relying on blood and guts.”

Insidious is an imagined story, but Leigh and Wan drew some of the scare sequences from true accounts. Leigh and Wan are fans of everything supernatural, but they admit to never having seen ghosts. Leigh describes ghosts as one of the mysteries of life he would love to see. The duo told That Shelf:

“We like to scare people. We like to be scared so we like to share that with audiences out there. Watching an audience scream or jolt is the same sense of satisfaction that you get from watching an audience crack up laughing at a comedy.”

Insidious’ directors wanted to make one film, but they ended up creating a film series

After Wan and Leigh created Insidious, they had no plan to film a second instalment. The story they wrote fully played out in the first film.

However, the skilled writers extended the storyline by introducing audiences to The Further. The Further is a mirror world populated with all manner of creepy demons. This world gave Wan and Whannell the freedom to create truly unforgettable monsters, including the Bride in Black and the Man Who Can’t Breath.

The monsters and demons exist independent of each other, but the films connect to form a thrilling storyline. After Chapter 2’s premiere, Wan told Entertainment Weekly:

“Insidious 2 is a direct continuation of the first movie. We literally pick up from where we left off at the end of the first film. And whereas the first movie is a twist on the haunted house genre, the second movie is a twist on the classic domestic thriller. It plays more like a domestic thriller but with a ghostly, supernatural spin to it.”