I think I’d put James Wan up there with Guillermo del Toro as a current director who really gets horror. He’s obviously fairly steeped in the horror tradition as his films attest. The original Saw was a terrifically visceral and kinetic film that when appreciated on its own merits did what it did extremely well.
As a result he started the first really big horror franchise of the 21st century and despite how you (or I) might feel about that, it does go some way towards putting him alongside Wes Craven, Sean Cunningham and John Carpenter, those other instigators of sequels that out-stayed their welcome. Dead Silence is another of his films that I admire, although it’s less successful than Saw. It riffed on films like Magic and Puppet Master and was an atmospheric little film although perhaps just a trifle silly.
So he’s certainly one of the most important men in horror today and I’ve been keenly anticipating his next film. Interesting then that – despite his Saw-based bankability – his new movie was made on a budget, reportedly a mere $1.5m (one of the producers was the director behind Paranormal Activity). If this is really so, then that’s an incredible achievement and perhaps further evidence that horror films often improve when you take the big budget away. In the current penny-pinching climate that’s got to be healthy – and perhaps something that Mr Del Toro should bear in mind when shopping ATMOM around to the other studios. (more…)