While he’s never exactly made a standout horror film, director James Wan, the mastermind along with co-writer Leigh Whannel behind the “Saw” franchise, inched a little closer to something truly compelling with 2011’s “Insidious.” It’s a film that the Playlist didn’t exactly love, but it went on to become one of the most profitable films of 2011, as well as feature a fine ensemble that elevated Wan’s typically B-level casting with the likes of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey.
It looks as if Wan doesn’t want to tamper with a good thing or perhaps he just has a bigger budget, because he’s filling out his next horror film, “The Conjuring,” with one familiar face in Wilson and the always dependable Vera Farmiga, according to The Hollywood Reporter. From a script penned by Chad and Carey Hayes, “The Conjuring” will follow Wilson and Farmiga as a married couple who just so happen to be demonologists, and as always with these sort of films, enter the most terrifying case of their career when they tangle with spirits at a Rhode Island farmhouse.
In a typical “The Amityville Horror”-style fashion, the film is based on the true-life account of the Perron Family and the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in the 1970s, which is sure to inspire the “Based on True Events” tag in the film’s marketing. New Line wants to get this film up and running soon with a March shoot date planned in North Carolina. Could a Halloween release be around the corner?
Wilson is an incredibly underrated actor, with the excellent “Young Adult” this past year and the hotly anticipated “Prometheus” on his horizon, though Farmiga is no slouch either with “Source Code” and her directorial project, “Higher Ground,” recently behind her as well. The two should make a handsome pair on screen, though the only potentially deterring factors are Wan and the Hayes brothers. While Wan can produce some high-quality schlock films, “Insidious” proved he could do a bit more, so we’ll have to see if that mindset is conjured up again for this film. As for Hayes, their previous credits include the abysmal Robert Zemeckis-produced “The Reaping,” as well a forgettable Kate Beckinsale vehicle in “Whiteout,” and the 2005 remake of “House of Wax.” A film that will go down in cultural infamy as the movie that dared to feature socialite Paris Hilton being skewered with a pole through the head. So yeah, we’ve got a mixed bag of talent here, but our hopes for this one are mostly positive if only to see if costume designers have some fun with Wilson and Farmiga in order to play a pair of demonologists in the ‘70s.