Everyone loves a scary movie. Even audiences who don’t ordinarily like horror enjoy a good scare from time to time. The master of the genre in recent years is Saw director James Wan who, as both director and producer, is responsible for some of Hollywood’s best scary movies of the last few years.
Question: name your top 5 best scary movies of the last ten to fifteen years. I bet the majority of people would include one or more of the following in their list: Saw, Insidious, Annabelle or The Conjuring. Each of these films were either director and co-written by James Wan, or produced by him.
The Malaysian-born, Australian film director, struck a chord with audiences when he debuted with the brilliant Saw in 2004. Wan’s talents witnessed the successful Saw franchise develop the story he began with screenwriter Leigh Whannell before confirming his talents behind the lens with the commercial and critical hits – Insidious and The Conjuring. Indeed, the latter became the second highest grossing horror movie of all time behind The Exorcist.
His influence can also be seen in the work of his frequent writing collaborator Whannell who took the director’s seat for Insidious Chapter 3 and successfully made one of Hollywood’s scariest ever horror movies. In fact, Whannell’s brilliant prequel within the Insidious franchise has set a new benchmark for the duo. Can Wan reach the scary movie heights of Whannell’s 2015 effort with his latest film – The Conjuring 2?
Will 2016 be the year James Wan makes his best scary movie?
The director’s latest project sees him returning to the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring 2 (in UK cinemas June 13). Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as paranormal researchers who this time are tasked with a journey to London to help a family plagued by demonic bumps in the night.
Based on the well-documented real life case of the Enfield poltergeist when a young girl was photographed allegedly levitating, and both law enforcement and national newspaper journalists claim to have witnessed first hand paranormal activity, The Conjuring 2 could be James Wan’s scariest movie yet.
Ahead of The Conjuring 2’s UK release on June 13, we take a look at 3 reasons The Conjuring 2 will be James Wan’s scariest film yet. Our reasons begin with Saw in 2004 and end with the first Conjuring in 2013!
Demonstrating genius early on, after James Wan initially struggled to get the script for Saw produced he decided to shoot one of the scenes from the screenplay as a short film with the same title to attract attention. This worked and the film was green lit with a small budget and shot for 18 days. Although critical responses were mixed, the film gained a cult following and grossed $100m worldwide.
With the extraordinary success of Saw, James Wan felt pressure from studios to create another gory horror and therefore made Insidious independently to ensure that he had creative control. Determined to show how restraint and silence could also be used to build scares, Wan stated that he enjoyed making “a film with lots of creepy, bizarre moments that a studio might not ‘get.’” The film’s twisted plot and slow build of suspense was lauded by critics and attracted cinema audiences in their droves, ensuring that a sequel would be in the works soon enough.
The Conjuring (2013)
James Wan was drawn to stories of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, a couple who have been linked to every major ghost story to hit mainstream news, including what is now known as The Amityville Horror and The Haunting In Connecticut. The Conjuring focuses on one of their most chilling cases, receiving positive reviews from critics and smashing box office records, grossing over 15 times its production budget.
The Conjuring 2 arrives in UK cinemas on June 13. You can find out more about the film here.