Last night, James Wan took the stage at the Linda Vista Hospital to unveil the trailer for Insidious: Chapter 2 and answer some fan questions about the making of the film. We were on hand to get a first look at the trailer and see what insights Wan had to offer. The trailer looks solid, with a couple good scares and a similar tone to the first film, it looks like the sequel will inhabit and explore the creepy world established in Insidious and find new ways to scare the haunted Lambert family anew. While we were there we also got a tour of the abandoned hospital, which was used for a number of locations in the film, and even though I was there for the set visit a few months ago it was definitely cool to get a more extensive look at the layout of the hospital. It’s obvious why filmmaker after filmmaker chooses to shoot there, the location is soaked in atmosphere and I can’t wait to see how it looks in the film.
Insidious ended up being one of the surprise hits of 2011 and the anticipated sequel reunites Wan with writer Leigh Whannell and the entire cast from the first film. Insidious: Chapter 2 opens September 23rd and stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins and Jocelin Donahue. Check out the highlights from Wan’s Q&A after the jump.
When asked what his dream movie would be Wan responded, “I’m a big comic book fan, I’d like to do a comic book film.” He went on to say, “I’m a romantic at heart, so a pet project of mine that I’ve always wanted to do is a big screen version of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. That way I can play with the scary creatures, the horror of that, and it has this great story.”
Wan said that the film “deals a little bit with the element of time travel.” He also mentioned that we would be exploring the Lambert family’s supernatural experiences from 1986 where we’ll see younger versions of Elise and Lorraine.
During the Q & A from the set visit, a few people were keen to mention that Chapter 2 almost takes the story into another genre. Wan reasserted that idea last night saying, “Whereas the first movie has a twist on the classic haunted house genre, the second one is a slightly different movie so it has a twist on different subgenre. It’s more in the vein of the classic domestic thriller but with a pervasive supernatural undertone.”
After directing his revenge thriller Death Sentence, Wan wanted to go back and make another smaller indie picture like his first film Saw.
The idea for the Insidious universe was born out blending the idea of astral projection with the haunted house subgenre, “We wanted to take a movie about astral projection, astral traveling, and we felt that was a great premise to use in a scary movie. When Leigh and I started talking about making a haunted house movie we thought the whole astral projection angle could be something that’s unique and different to the haunted house movies. We combined those two together and we got Insidious.”
On his choice to use practical effects over CGI Wan commented, “I just think they’re scarier, I’m not against computer graphics and effects, but I think for these kinds of movies I think practical effects are scarier. Because for me it’s not necessarily seeing the scariest monster that makes it scary it’s a character waking up in the middle of the night and he or she thinks that someone’s standing at the foot of their bed. That’s what makes things scary for me. So for Insidious it was putting those scares that I have personally in a movie.”
Wan gets some of his inspiration for scare scenes by trying to freak himself out in the middle of the night, “When I was designing some of the scares for Insidious and my previous scary movie that I shot, one of the things that I would do, I would walk through my house with all the lights out and think up these really these really tricky, creepy scenarios. If I get really creeped out then I know it’s working and I’d run back to my computer and write it.”
Despite the actors’ busy schedules it was easy for Wan to reassemble the cast from the first film because everybody like making it so much. Wan explained, “We all had a great time on the first movie, and no one knew how successful the first movie would become so it there was no pressure, we just had fun doing it. The idea of doing it again was an easy sell.”
On the challenge of trying to scare returning audiences anew Wan said, “I tried to ground this film much more in the real world, and I learned a lot of that from making The Conjuring as well, that the more I ground it in the real world the more effective the more effective the scares will play out.”
When asked if Chapter 2 answers questions or establishes a new set of questions, Wan was guarded but said, “It answers questions, but hopefully not in the way you expect.”
Wan revealed that the Lamberts will be seeking help from a new psychic character who, like Elise in the first film, has a unique way of communicating with the dead. Where Elise had her gas mask and flashbulbs, he communicates through a set of lettered dice. Wan explained, “He asks his questions, then he roles his dice and they spell out the answers to his questions.”