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Best James Wan Movies, Ranked

James Wan is an undisputed horror legend, and he has been responsible for directing some of the most beloved blockbusters of our time. Wan’s low-budget short film Saw was picked up and turned into the massive horror franchise we all know today, spawning several successful spin-offs and continued blockbuster success. Saw was unlike any horror film which had been previously released, combining gore with shocking twists and a captivating story.

After the success of Saw, Wan would go on to achieve another horror franchise success when he turned the real-life story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren into The Conjuring, which also produced several successful spinoffs and sequels, creating a whole new horror universe. He achieved similar success with the Insidious franchise, and more recently with Aquaman and Furious 7 proving he can succeed in multiple genres. As such, here are James Wan’s best movies.

Related: The Conjuring Real-Life Haunted House Can Be Yours for a Cool $1.2 Million

9 Furious 7


furious 7

James Wan proved that his success as a director could be strong in multiple genres when he took on Furious 7, the seventh installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. This was the first addition to the franchise after the death of Paul Walker, and Wan did a good job of addressing his death while also keeping the tone of the franchise alive, being silly and action packed while also including a genuinely moving tribute.


8 Insidious: Chapter 2


insidious chapter 2

Sequels sometimes have a bad reputation, and especially in the world of horror, we see sequels more than often fail to live up to their original counterpart. Insidious: Chapter 2 received very mixed reviews, so it did not fully escape the curse of the horror sequel. The sequel keeps the main cast from the original (Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins) which feels like the wrong decision as the story feels dragged out. Regardless of the typical sequel issues, Insidious: Chapter 2 boasts some genuinely scary moments and is still a good horror film.

7 The Conjuring 2


conjuring 2

James Wan achieved massive success with The Conjuring, so the pressure for the sequel to be just as good was strong. The Conjuring 2 was released in 2016 and saw Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprise their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. This time, they traveled to England to investigate the Enfield poltergeist case, another real-life investigation. The Conjuring 2 was a successful sequel, generating positive reviews and box office success, proving Wan can overcome the curse of the horror sequel.


6 Dead Silence


Dead-Silence

Before Annabelle’s introduction in The Conjuring franchise, James Wan first introduced us to haunted dolls with 2007’s Dead Silence. The story revolves around Mary Shaw, a woman who seeks revenge on a town who rejected her and her variety of ventriloquist dummies. The film was critically panned and did not succeed at the box office, however it has endured as a cult classic, and is genuinely a very good horror film which foreshadowed a lot of the styles which would later find Wan success.

5 Malignant


malignant
Warner Bros.

2021’s Malignant saw James Wan abandon the Ed and Lorraine Warren story to pick up a new one focusing on Maddison (Annabelle Wallis) who possesses the ability to have gruesome visions foreshadowing murders that happen in the real world but does know how to prevent them from happening. The format returns to the gruesome and gory elements we saw in Saw but with a more genre-blending approach, which may have been difficult for fans of Insidious or The Conjuring. The movie underperformed at the box office, however, was a critical success and is a strong addition to the horror world of James Wan.

Related: These Are the Best Religious Horror Movies of All Time

4 Aquaman


aquaman

James Wan’s directing skills experienced new heights when he directed the mega-blockbuster Aquaman in 2019, becoming a part of the DC universe. Jason Momoa starred as the lead role, with Amber Heard starring as well. Aquaman brought the hero to life in a fun and fast-paced way, and was extremely successful at the box office, becoming a hit for the DCEU franchise overall. The film was also well received by critics and has spawned a sequel which is currently in the works and promises to be just as exciting.

3 Insidious


insidious

In 2010, James Wan released the original Insidious which blended different horror genres as well as family drama story. The film starred Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Ty Simpkins and centers around Dalton (Simpkins) being haunted rather than the house itself. Insidious is quite unlike any other horror film, and the directorial choices from Wan make for some truly chilling and unforgettable scenes.


2 Saw


saw

Saw is the film that started it all for James Wan. This was originally a short film which was later picked up for a wider distribution as a high budget film, and it finally became one of the most successful horror franchises of recent times. The Saw franchise now consists of many sequels, but none have been able to live up to Wan’s original which presented a compelling story alongside a gory and terrifying horror sequences.

1 The Conjuring


the conjuring

James Wan found new success in 2013 when he released The Conjuring. This would mark the beginning of the hugely successful franchise including Annabelle and The Nun spin-offs and one of the most acclaimed horror films of recent times. It starred Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, telling the real life haunting story of the Perron family. The jump scares are genuinely frightening, and the love story of Ed and Lorraine as a backdrop makes the story genuinely moving.


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