7 items from 2015
I misjudged James Wan. When "Saw" was being prepped for release, I was approached by the creative execs at Twisted Pictures, along with my writing partner, about spitballing ideas for sequels, since they already saw it as a franchise. It was one in a flurry of meetings, and we didn't have an immediate reaction, and so we let it go. Didn't really chase it. Smart, right? For a little while, I wasn't really sure what to make of Wan as a director. I didn't like "Dead Silence" much at all, and I wasn't sure what to make of the wild swings in tone in "Death Sentence." It wasn't until the midnight premiere of "Insidious" at the Toronto Film Festival that I was 100% onboard, and it felt like Wan had become a different, more confident filmmaker at that point, like he was serious about his craft in a different way. I »
- Drew McWeeny
“Ride or die.” Those words only appear a few times in the franchise – most famously out of Vin Diesel’s gravelly baritone in Fast & Furious 6 – but they have become the personal motto for how this franchise has continued, grown, succeeded and become greater with each film. Today, Furious 7, the latest in the series will be released, and it’s a mark of achievement not only that they’ve made it to seven films, but that it only feels exciting for a seventh film about criminals racing cars to be released. The Fast and the Furious franchise is unlike any franchise out there right now, as it has evolved from perfectly adequate popcorn films about criminals racing cars to superb and exhilarating blockbuster action films. No other franchise can say that they only began to hit their creative stride with the fifth film. To understand how we arrived at this point though, »
- Dylan Griffin
James Wan: love him or hate him, he knows how to make an audience tick.
After navigating his way to the rare status of financially lucrative horror director, Wan landed the gig of helming the utterly mad-looking Fast & Furious 7, with series regular Justin Lin moving onto other things. As it gears up for an imminent release, this seems like a good opportunity to rank Aussie director’s films in order of quality so far. Wasting no time…
6. Death Sentence, 2007
A little-seen revenge picture starring Kevin Bacon as a family man who goes all one man army on a group of thugs who murdered his son, Death Sentence is an interesting but flawed piece. An enjoyably nasty performance from Garrett Hedlund and a terrific single-take foot chase stand out, and the frolicsome approach to the direction gives the impression Wan was »
- Edward Gardiner
While filmmaker James Wan had gotten on the radar of many horror fans with his second feature Saw, the 2010 film Insidious served to reinforce his skills in the genre to many. Wan’s key collaborator, however, is screenwriter Leigh Whannell, as the duo have worked together on numerous features, from the aforementioned Saw and Insidious to the latter’s sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2, and Dead Silence.
The third film in the series, titled Insidious: Chapter 3, will not have one of its main ingredients, as James Wan has stepped away from the director’s chair. Replacing him, however, is Whannell, who will be making his directorial debut with the third entry, along with writing the screenplay and reprising the role of the character Specs, who has appeared in both prior entries. The synopsis for the third movie is as follows:
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family »
- Deepayan Sengupta
The latest film from director Paul Solet – whose previous films include the fantastic horror Grace - Dark Summer stars Peter Stormare (Fargo, 21 Jump Street, The Big Lebowsiki), Grace Phipps (Fright Night, The Vampire Diaries), Stella Maeve (Transamerica, Starlet), Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara, Dead Silence) and Maestro Harrell (Ali, Suburgatory)
In Dark Summer 17 year old Daniel Austin is given house-arrest for the summer for obsessive online stalking of his classmate and crush Mona Wilson. When his mother goes away on a long business trip, Daniel is left alone, with no phone, no internet, and no Mona. A horrifying incident occurs leaving an ominous presence in the house…
Dark Summer will be released theatrically on March 20th, before being released digitally by Content Media on April 6th. Check out the trailer and poster below:
- Phil Wheat
Hey there creeps! Apparently the ol’ Crypt o’ Xiii is The place to be! Ghouls are knockin’ the lid off the coffin just to get in and commence to jawin’ with the cool ghoul, yours cruelly! All right, all right, calm down… the first two fiends in line… git yer arses in here! Why look who’s here; it’s die-rector Chris Sparling and viscous vocalist Chad Kowal! Greetings o’ ghoulish ones! Chris, you’re the first contestant on Daniel Xiii’s Die-a-log of the Damned!
Famous Monsters. So, yer new flick The Atticus Institute [Which I will be reviewin' shortly - Xiii] has just been released on the ol’ home vid-gee-oh. Tell us what’s up with what’s goin’ down with the idea behind Atticus.
Chris Sparling. I wanted to make a possession movie that was more of a scientific approach to dealing with that problem rather than a religious approach. I was pretty fascinated with the idea that scientists, »
Mention James Wan’s name, and more times than not, the Saw or Insidious series will come up. Every once in a great while, a fan of the criminally underrated Dead Silence will be brought up (and rightfully so, it’s wonderful), but for the most part, Wan’s fanbase tends to focus on the traps of Saw, the ghosts of Insidious or the frightening Warren experiences of The Conjuring. One film in Wan’s filmography that always seems to get the shaft in conversations or isn’t referred to much, is his loose adaption of Brian Garfield’s novel, Death Sentence. That film has always held a spot in my heart for many reasons, the writing, the music, the performances, and most of all, the morality tales and lessons that though are not subtle whatsoever, speak volumes about how far we can get from who we are, while trying »
- Jerry Smith
7 items from 2015
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