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6 Top Tier James Wan Horror Movies to Watch Ahead of ‘Malignant’



6 Top Tier James Wan Horror Movies to Watch Ahead of 'Malignant'

With James Wan’s Malignant coming out soon in theaters and on HBO Max, I felt it was only natural to go through some “top tier” James Wan horror films, just to get everyone in the mood. Here we go…

6. SAW (2004):

Saw 2004 Head Trap

Instead of starting with the latest and greatest, let’s go with oldest and boldest. SAW (2004) is a modern classic that spawned an infamous franchise, solidifying the modern genre of “Torture Porn”. However, Wan’s first and only entry in the same franchise is really just the surface of that. Wan crafted a really neat test of the mind drenched in blood that didn’t rely too heavily on the gore, but rather used it sparingly as an extra means to keep people invested.

5. Dead Silence (2007):

Dead Silence 2007 Doll

Aside from SAW this is one of Wan’s earliest films. The creepy throwback horror of a haunted puppet is something out of “The Twilight Zone” or “Goosebumps” dialed up to eleven. It’s that sort of old school throwback type horror that I love seeing a new twist on.

4. Insidious (2010):

Insidious 2010 Cast

Insidious truly is one of my all-time favorite horror films. The atmosphere, tension, and acting are all so well done and convey a sense of fear of the unknown. The visuals in this film are fantastic. The blue, black and misty underworld dubbed “the further” has such a horrific and terrifying look to it…it’s simple yet great. The greyish color grading is cool, and the Darth Maul-looking demon is a modern horror jump scare. Overall the film is a fantastic twist on possession films, and once again cements Wan as a fantastic horror storyteller with another hit that spawned a popular franchise.

3. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013):

Insidious Chapter 2013 Image

This sequel may not be as up to par as the original but Insidious: Chapter 2 is still a neat continuation of the Lampert family’s possession problems, this time putting Patrick Wilson in the main spotlight. The film does well extending the world of Insidious with terrifying lore and lots of creepy moments, especially through the extravagant sets.

2. The Conjuring (2013):

The Conjuring 2013 Image

Switching gears from one iconic demon franchise to another. This film, much like Insidious only three years prior, was a grand splash of a horror film. It made waves at the box office, had stellar marketing, and left a mark on the horror industry. Now, half a dozen spin-offs later, this film still holds up as a creepy Amityville Horror-esc flick.

1. The Conjuring 2 (2016):

The Conjuring 2 2016 Nun

Damn, back to back with the sequels. Gotta love double features right? However, unlike my verdict on Insidious: Chapter 2, I actually loved The Conjuring 2 much more than the first one… and I love The Conjuring. James Wan by this point was known for his grey and gloomy color grading, but in this film it takes on a whole new mood and really grips the audience into a cold and frightening atmosphere. So many scenes and visuals are built up great and are executed even greater. With unforgettable scenes like “the crooked nan” and “the talk with Bill”, The Conjuring 2 really is just one of those fun scary movies. This is something Wan is great at making as usual but damn, he really knocked it out of the park on this one.

These are all of my “must watch” films from James Wan, at least when preparing to watch a new one from him. I have a feeling Malignant will fall closer in line with Insidious and The Conjuring, but it was a lot of fun looking back at SAW and Dead Silence for this article. For anyone interested in Furious 7 and the absolute DC gem that is Aquaman, I would recommend checking those out on another binge, this is a horror list after all. Many people would say Wan’s films are more geared towards teenagers going to the movies and littered with jump scares, but growing up I grew a deep appreciation and admiration for his work, and I’m really looking forward to watching another one from him.

What did you think of this list? Let me know, and make sure to check out Malignant in theaters this week (or on HBO Max). For more horror related articles and discussions make sure to follow me on Twitter @JacobAtTheMovie. That’s all for now horror fiends!