Best James Wan MoviesJames Wan has made quite a name for himself. After being known almost exclusively for co-creating the 'Saw' franchise in 2003 (directing the initial short film, the first full-length film, and executive-producing all subsequent films) for a number of years, he's managed to branch out with a number of successful, new horror franchises and a few films outside of the horror genre. This list takes a look at the best films he's had his hands on (as director, producer, executive producer, or writer).
The Top Ten
I've only seen the first four films of this series. After this film, I had hope that I'd enjoy the remaining chapters. Unfortunately, none of them came close to capturing the zest of this film. Each subsequent film felt more and more like a cash grab while this film will, hopefully, be remembered for doing something new (like 'The Blair Witch Project' did five years earlier). 'Saw II' was probably the only sequel I cared for at all.
Saw (10/10) Amazing!
Saw II (7/10) Good
Saw III (7/10) Good
Saw IV (6/10) Eh
Saw V (5/10) Bad
Saw VI (8/10) Great!
Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (3/10) Awful
Jigsaw (8/10) Great!
A personal favourite of mine, 'Insidious' was probably the first film of his that I ever saw, so my initial impression of him was very high. I was very impressed with how rich the visuals were and how unique the premise was. To this day I consider it an underrated film (seeing as it carries an underwhelming 66% on RT) and revisit it every year during the Halloween season.
Arguably one of the best horror films of the decade, the new millennium, or even ever. A full-fledged horror cinematic universe could only stem from a excellent start-up film like this. You can thank James Wan and this film for bringing traditionalist horror (light on gore, heavy on suspense) back from the dead.
Why isn't this #1?!
I am not especially fond of the 'Saw' franchise following the initial film, but 'Saw II' is easily the best of the sequels, probably because the idea hand't been done to death yet.
It's not quite as big of a champion as it's older brother was, but 'The Conjuring 2' knows what fans loved about the first film and gave us a lot more of it. It's, perhaps, one of the best franchise-building films I've ever seen, also, seeing as it sets up spin-offs and sequels very subtly without taking the focus off of the story at hand. My only problem is with how brief the opening 'Amityville' scene is. This series could really do wonders if they rebooted 'The Amitville Horror' franchise.
As of the making of this list, this remains as the only non-horror film James Wan has made. Next year's 'Aquaman' will change that but for the time being we can appreciate Wan's talent for making action movies through this gem of a film. The F&F series has been going strong since 2011's 'Fast Five' completely revived the tiring franchise with a focus away from street racing. No instalment since has better-demonstrated how awesome this series can be for action movie junkies. The unfortunate loss of Paul Walked during production of the film is likely a large reason for this films' uncanny box office performance, but I'd also like to think that James Wan's eagerness to break new ground as a filmmaker helped to make this film the joy-ride it turned out to be.
Afraid of the dark? No? Well, you might have reason to be after watching this. David F. Sandberg (who would go on to direct 'Annabelle: Creation' and the 2019 DC film, 'Shazam! ') made his directorial debut with this film and may he stick around the horror genre for a long time, also, because this is good stuff, people.
This film, like the original, remains underappreciated for its inventive story and haunting imagery. It's a bit slower-moving, and features fewer memorable moments than the first, but it made for a satisfying sequel that improves upon the first film by adding layers to the franchises' mythology.
The first 'Annabelle' was a bit of a mess, to put it lightly. There was a noticeable shortage of scares and the story was weak. It, being a prequel of sorts to 'The Conjuring', attempted to capitalize om the title doll's popularity following her brief appearance in that film. Nobody seemed to think the film was an adequate origin story so this film was made and successfully superseded it.
A prequel to the first two 'Insidious' films, 'Chapter 3' shows us how the trio of Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye), Tucker (Angus Sampson), and "Specs" (Leigh Whannell, who also wrote and directed the film) came to work together (among other things, of course). It's definitely an inferior film, compared to the first two, partly due to us having become familiar with the concept, desensitizing us to the frightful mystery of the "further". It's not bad, though.