8. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
The first Insidious (2010) film was James Wan’s biggest hit since Saw. Both box office devotees and horror lovers gathered with great anticipation to see the sequel to 2010s lucrative success.
Insidious: Chapter 2 picked up from the tragically daunting ending of its predecessor, diving right into the deep end of terror to flesh out the mythology of the first film that was largely kept at bay. Whilst Insidous 2 delves into the lore of the Lambert family, unveiling chilling discoveries and deadly fates, what the film fails to do is conjure the same threat level that the first film so meticulously crafted.
Insidious 2 does an awful lot of showing rather than telling. And whilst it may be unfair to constantly compare a sequel to its original, Wan’s continuation seen in this second entry feels all the more hollow due to the fact that its predecessor was absolutely fantastic. By no means is Insidious 2 a bad film – in fact, it is brimming with stellar performances by the returning Patrick Wilson and on-screen wife Rose Byrne, and of course the horror legend Lin Shaye playing the role of demonologist Elise Rainer – but Insidious 2 is at best a quick thrill and at worst a disappointing mark in Wan’s filmography.
7. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
The infamous Enfield poltergeist had been a hot topic for London paranormal investigators for years, with it being said that the case had inspired the media sensation that is ‘Ghostwatch’ (1992). But no other recreation had quite captured the hysteria and horror like Wan’s The Conjuring 2.
Taking demonologists The Warrens (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) oversees is Wan’s twisted and slightly gothic haunted house tale. The Conjuring 2 is an admirable stamp in Wan’s filmography thanks to the slow, drawn-out scares that aim to cut deep rather than provide a quick ‘boo’ moment. Working alongside the commendable spooky pacing is the film’s formation which has all of the right intentions, but also sadly acts like an investment, a means to introduce further sequels, prequels, and future remakes.
Many films end on a cliffhanger in hopes of continuing the events at a later point, but The Conjuring 2 literally introduces two separate characters just to plant the seed for more spinoffs. The sinister nun, Valak (Bonnie Aarons), and the Crooked Man (Javier Botet), are dropped in like trail markers to tease further films.
The Conjuring 2 features top performances, incredibly detailed set designs, and a plight of startling scares, yet it still somehow feels like an advertisement.
6. Aquaman (2018)
Comic books are at the heart of many people’s childhoods, or more accurately, they have not left the hearts of their readers since those readers first found themselves lost in the captivating worlds of superheroes and world-saving fighters.
With the likes of Marvel Studios dominating these beloved adaptations, DC was falling behind in the epic battle of live-action movies. That is until James Wan delivered the mighty tidal wave that is Aquaman.
Aquaman (2018) became a rip-roaring success, with Wan’s purposefully dramatic and beyond entertaining metahuman extravaganza bringing a sense of wild, unabashed fun back into the field of darkly themed comic book films.
Aquaman does have its quirks, particularly within the dialogue, but it doesn’t feed into the pretexts of literary excellence. Alternatively, Aquaman is a movie that wants its viewers to have fun and enjoy the spectacle.
Recommended for you: DCEU Movies Ranked