Saturday, August 24, 2013

James Wan's "Insidious" and "The Conjuring"

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to watch two scary movies. I'm not a fan of scary movies to be honest. I just feel like this genre is just a waste of time. Plus, I have a vivid imagination which does not help when you go to bed at night and the lights are all off.

But still I watched the movie. 

The Conjuring

What I like about this movie is that the attack is not so much on gore and blood. The narrative was more cerebral and the director made sure that the audience would think that anything that happens in the movie can easily happen to you in your house, bedrooom or just anywhere. And this made the movie scarier. 

Silence was also emphasized in this film. And during those scenes where everything was so quiet like the one when the mother had to go down the cellar and lit a match stick or when the kid woke up and stared at something. It was a silent experience for the viewers and everybody was expecting that the ghost will appear. But the director knew how to play up with the audience. He knew the audience will expect that. So instead of a cut-frame shift to scary ghost, he used an out of the blue "clapping hands" or pan up "scary ghost atop a closet". Nobody expected that, and that made the story surprisingly effective.


Between The Conjuring and Insidious, I would have to give it to Insidious. The attack on this film is nothing new compared to other scary movies I've seen. But again, the treatment of ghosts in this movie is highly unobtrusive. Meaning, it is not a forced attempt to scare the wits out of the audience. 

One of the scariest parts I love/hate in this movie were that of (1) the silhouette of the man in the curtains, (2) the devil's face beside the father's face at the kitchen, and (3) the sudden appearance of the demon when the astral body of the boy was about to return to his body. These surprising elements were very effective because they come at your most unexpected/unguarded viewing moments. Plus the fact again that it is highly likely to happen to you while you are asleep.

James Wan : the Director

I saw James' interviews in some youtube videos and I was actually surprised that he's got some Asian blood. Well he is truly Asian after all. But what impressed me most is that he's not only directed Insidious and The Conjuring but also some notable horror flicks.

He is a Malaysian-born Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Insidious, and The Conjuring (Wikipedia).

My guess is that he has fused Eastern and Western horror elements into his films. You know the typical Asian ghosts are by themselves scary. I don't know about Western ghosts but most of the time, they are just lost spirits seeking revenge or something to that line. But Asian ghosts are really scary in that they can take your life away in a subtle and scary way. And this becomes an effective recipe in scaring people. I always associate scary movies with spicy food. It burns your tongue but you still want more. 


James Wan.

James Wan Photo.

Insidious Movie Trailer Official.

The Conjuring - Official Main Trailer.

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