Leigh Whannell

Saw Movie Bathroom

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” That was Lionsgate’s tag line to the Saw franchise for years. It all began in 2004 when then-unknown horror director James Wan delivered a very low-budget but very grisly thriller about a new killer named Jigsaw who didn’t actually kill people… he simply set them up to kill themselves. Fine line, there. The rest was history. Wan went on to direct other iconic horror films, including Insidious and The Conjuring. Star Tobin Bell and his sidekick Billy the Puppet became as recognizable as Jason’s hockey mask. Torture porn (a bit of a misnomer for the earlier, better Saw films) became its own sub-genre. And for nearly a decade, most studio horror movie releases cleared the way for Lionsgate to drop a new sequel in October just before Halloween. However, before it became a full-blown phenomenon, director James Wan sat down with the film’s writer and co-star Leigh Whannell to talk about the original for the DVD release. Now, for the film’s 10th anniversary, it’s time to look back at this new classic and learn.

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Kids. You can’t live with them, and you can’t bash their head in with a fire extinguisher. But what this movie presupposes is… maybe you can. In fact, sometimes you have to if you want to live. Clint (Elijah Wood) is starting his first day as a substitute teacher, but in his mind it’s only a temporary way station on the way to the bestseller lists. Sure he’s living back at home and drives a beaten up Prius with “Eat my cock” scrawled into the dusty grime, but if he can just nail his horror novel’s opening line (“The boat was evil…”) he’ll be on his way. But when an outbreak infects the kids and turns them into little carnivorous bastards, Clint and a gaggle of other teachers are forced into the second biggest fight of their lives (after trying to survive on teacher salary and lack of respect). Cooties is horror comedy done right. It’s laugh out loud funny but never shies away from the gory, violent bits involving adults and children. See it with a child you love.

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These things happen like clockwork. Insidious: Chapter 2 cost about $5m to make. This weekend, it grossed more than $41m. And now, precisely one day after that opening weekend, comes the announcement that we’ll be getting an Insidious 3 (it’s probably safe to assume a Chapter 3 subtitle will be attached). Leigh Whannell, writer of the first two Insidious movies, will be back to write screenplay number three, but there’s been no mention of a director so far. Probably because, in a recent interview with Moviefone, Insidious (and Insidious: Chapter 2) director James Wan plainly stated that he is “finished with the horror genre.” So don’t expect him to return to the series, unless major script rewrites turn it into a romantic comedy or an animated movie where talking dogs enter a surf contest.

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review insidious chapter 2

Some sequels continue unfinished stories from where their predecessor left off, but others just use the name as a launching pad towards something completely different and usually far inferior. I’m looking at you Meatballs Part II. Happily, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell have gone the former route with the follow-up to their 2010 horror hit, Insidious. Unfortunately, that’s one of only a few things to be happy about here. Josh and Renai Lambert (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) have just survived a ghostly ordeal, but when Josh returned from the other side where he found and rescued their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), he brought something evil back with him. Chapter 2 picks up in the minutes and days that follow as the Lamberts move to Josh’s mother’s (Barbara Hershey) house only to discover the horror is ongoing. Ghosts roam the halls, threats of violence hang in the air, and Josh is no longer the man he once was. Insidious: Chapter 2 is for the people who actually liked the final minute of Insidious as opposed to seeing it as the only low-point in an otherwise fantastic horror film. There are fun moments to be had here, but they’re front-loaded and minimal when compared to the sloppy, cluttered, and frequently ineffective rest.

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There’s a legitimate reason why the Insidious sequel is called Insidious: Chapter 2. It’s a continuation of the first movie, not a departure. That was important for director James Wan and co-writer/co-star Leigh Whannell, who both hit the jackpot with 2004’s Saw. The first Insidious was their biggest hit since their breakout film, after Wan took a shot at action with Death Sentence and the duo’s rocky time on Dead Silence. So it goes without saying that the Insidious franchise is important to them. I spoke with James Wan and Leigh Whannell the week before Wan scored an even bigger hit with The Conjuring. That movie showed more of who Wan is as a filmmaker, and with him now taking on a Fast & Furious sequel, he’s firmly establishing himself as a go-to storyteller. A decade after breaking out, the scary pair is just getting started.

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Insidious 2

Since they killed Darth Maul in the first one (I think), the Insidious: Chapter 2 production has gotten a few scarier villains — ones that absolutely hate wire hangers — to take his place. With James Wan at the helm, Leigh Whannel behind the screenplay, and Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson returning to star, the entire creative team that made the first film such a hit is back in full force for the sequel. This time around the story finds The Lambert family discovering a deadly childhood secret that explains why they can’t seem to sever their connection to terrorizing ghosts who want to steal their babies. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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trailer insidious 2

Insidious is one of the best horror films of the past few years, and while some viewers feel the comedic elements in the second half mess with the tone too much the film’s only real failure comes in the final minute. If you’ve seen it you know exactly what I’m talking about. The events of those last 60 seconds seemed to preclude the possibility of a sequel, but director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell apparently think otherwise. The follow-up sees the Lambert family moving on only to discover their nightmare isn’t over. Most of the cast is back along with a new medium who they hope can identify and eliminate the source of their haunting. Turn off the lights, wrap yourself tight in a warm blanket, and take a peek at the trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2.

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Insidious

Despite producer Jason Blum’s initial comments that he wouldn’t get behind a sequel to 2010’s possession horror, Insidious, unless he was presented with a story that really made sense, it always seemed like a sequel was going to be inevitable anyway. Not only is Insidious one of the mostly widely well-reviewed horror movies of the last decade, but it also managed to make a whole bunch of money without having a very big budget. That’s too good of a formula for the Hollywood money-making machine to abandon. So, sure enough, last February we got word that director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell were both coming back, and Insidious 2 was officially in the works. The press release issued for the film today [via ComingSoon] brings a couple of more surprises with it as well, though. Despite the fact that the original Insidious ended with a situation that looked pretty grim for the family that it featured, and you might have imagined that a sequel would introduce us to a whole new cast of characters battling a similar evil spirit, the money men behind this sequel say that Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Ty Simpkins will all be back for this new film, reprising their roles from the original. Is it likely that Wan and Whannell have come up with a great story that will bring these characters back for more hauntings and manage to make sense in the process, or can we take the returns of the […]

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James Wan is back. Leigh Whannell is back. Insidious is back. That loud burst of discordant music you just heard is all part of the plan to scare you out of your seat. The cat that just ran by isn’t part of it; your house is just infested with cats. According to Variety, the green light has been given to Insidious 2 which means a continuation/birth of a horror franchise that genuinely delivered excitement to a big audience. It’s screenwriter Whannell’s goal to have the main players from the first film return. That also means that Whannell has what he and the team assume to be a solid creative idea for the next installment. Last year, producer Jason Blum claimed they wouldn’t move the massive moneymaking beast forward simply for more large checks. Looks like they’re smart enough to do it for the right reasons and to strike when the iron is hot. Now what would spell story success for the sequel?

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The rules vocalized by Notorious BIG regarding the amount of money you have and its direct correlation to the amount of problems you have also applies to movies. It’s no doubt that someone, somewhere is aching to see a sequel to the ridiculously high-grossing Insidious based solely on how much gold it brought into the coffers. Fortunately, producer Jason Blum doesn’t seem too keen on jumping into the deep end just for the sake of cashing in. He had this to say to Shock Til You Drop: “I wouldn’t say we’re not considering it. “There’s no plan, no release date, nothing like that. I think James [Wan] feels the same as Oren [Peli]. Oren was very skeptical about doing a sequel to Paranormal Activity until Michael [Perry] pitched an idea and it made sense. If Leigh [Whannell] comes up with a story that’s inventive and you feel like there’s a story to tell – as opposed to ‘let’s make another movie and make money’ – and he comes up with something James feels is worth making we would do it. And if Leigh doesn’t, we won’t.” Always pleasing to hear. It doesn’t mean that a sequel (if one ever gets made) will be good – it’s not like Paranormal Activity 2 was anything special, and they apparently waited for “an idea” that “made sense.” But, at least it shuns the practice of shoving a sequel into pre-production and setting a release date regardless of whether the creative types want to […]

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When Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) move into a new house with their three children, they see it as an opportunity for the life they always wanted. Renai can get back to writing music and be a full-time mom for her family, and the kids have all the space they could ever want. Unfortunately some of that space appears to be occupied by malevolent ghosts. What do they want? How can this family rid themselves of their worst nightmare? Why does that ghost look like Darth Maul? On the one hand, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan have given us a solid film with some remarkably unsettling imagery sure to haunt the nightmares of even the most jaded horrorphiles. On the flip side, they have given us one of the loudest, most obnoxiously lazy horror films in years. This paradox eats at me as I desperately wanted to like Insidious and frankly the potential it displays alludes to a film that could have easily made my list of favorites of the year. Sadly, that potential is squandered in cheap thrills and hackneyed conventions.

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