Profile: Fast & Furious 7 director James Wan
- Murray Robertson
- 30 March 2015
We put James Wan’s most notable films in the driving seat, as the world gears up for Furious 7
Inspired by a magazine article about street racing (as well as the entire plot of Point Break), 2001's The Fast and the Furious was a modest commercial (if not critical) success. Certainly no one could have predicted it would go on to spawn six sequels grossing over $2.3 billion at the box office.
The franchise's success is largely down to director Justin Lin who helmed parts 3–6 (Fast and Furious nomenclature is so obfuscating, it's easiest to refer to installments by number). With Lin currently prepping for Star Trek 3, horror stalwart James Wan stepped behind the wheel for Fast & Furious 7. What are his most notable films to date?
Wan started the ball rolling on the infamous horror series as its first writer and director (based on a short he'd made with co-writer / actor Leigh Whannell). After six sequels of rapidly diminishing returns (for which Wan was not responsible), it's easy to forget just how much of an impact the first episode had. It's a claustrophobic, tightly-wound thriller with a twist ending that lingers long after the lights have gone up.
Reunited with Whannell, Insidious saw Wan drop the gore in favour of some old school scares as a couple find unwelcome (and otherworldly) visitors in their new home. Although prone to silliness, the chemistry between leads Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson helps ground the horror. And it's genuinely frightening, featuring another confident, bold ending.
The Conjuring (2013)
Supposedly based on an investigation by paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (best known for their involvement with the Amityville Horror), this is the closest Wan has got to a classic ghost story. It's beautifully shot, subtly played and went on to spawn a spin-off, Annabelle.
Fast & Furious 7 is on general release from Fri 3 Apr.