Saw co-creator Leigh Whannell has gone on to become an acclaimed filmmaker — here are Whannel’s directing efforts ranked from weakest to strongest.
How to do Leigh WhannelAre a director’s films ranked from worst to best? Leigh Whannell had a memorable breakthrough in 2004 with the low-budget trap-filled horror film Seen, which Whannell co-wrote and in which he appeared as Adam alongside Cary Elwes. Whannell and director James Wan then shot at the big time overnight, with the film’s success spawning the feature and still occasionally revived Seen franchise.
Whannell and Wan went on to collaborate on films such as Death sentence, Insidiousand Conspiracy, with ongoing horror franchises born out of the latter two. Whannell will also make his own directorial debut in the Insidious series with 2015 Insidious: Chapter 3 before continuing his directing career with 2018’s Upgrade and 2020s The invisible Man.
Throughout his relatively fledgling career as a director, Leigh Whannell continued to scare audiences while venturing outside the viscera of the Seen franchise in new genres like action and science fiction. As a director, Whannell also interwoven his horror stories with new elements and themes that made his directorial work doubly impactful. Here are Leigh Whannell’s films as a director, ranked from worst to best.
3. Insidious Chapter 3 (2015)
A prequel to the first two Insidious movies, Insidious Chapter 3 centers on Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye), the series’ demon expert, as she helps with the case of a young woman named Quinn (Stefanie Scott). With Quinn finding herself haunted by an ethereal presence known as “The man who can’t breathe(Michael Reid MacKay), Elise struggles with her own confidence in her ability to exorcise the malevolent entity, a major departure from her expertise in the supernatural first established in Leigh Whannell and James Wan. Insidious which increases the fears of Insidious Chapter 3. Whannell and Angus Tucker also return as Specs and Tucker, adding the touch of levity they have long given to the Insidious franchise, with their history returned to the rogue Demon Hunters who unexpectedly become the real article.
Insidious Chapter 3 is steeped in the haunted house atmosphere that has allowed its predecessors to connect with audiences. If it is slightly less powerful than the first two Insidious movies, which is mostly a by-product of audiences being relatively familiar with the Insidious the franchise world at that time. Even still, Whannell keeps the suspense high and the scares strategically timed, while Shaye’s more uncertain performance as Elise shows a new side to the franchise’s heroine, which also keeps the tension tight enough throughout. from the prequel. By building the Insidious franchise, James Wan and Leigh Whannell have shown their mastery of horror to be one that doesn’t impose the R-rated carnage of the Seen films are engaging and effective, with Whannell applying these tools to the story of Insidious Chapter 3 to get off to a good start in his directorial debut.
2. The Invisible Man (2020)
Rise from the ashes of abandoned plans of Universal Dark Universe, The invisible Man modernized the classic horror tale while scoring one of the last pre-pandemic box office bigs. When Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss) thinks she’s escaped her abusive boyfriend, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), she comes to question her safety and even her own sanity as Adrian still seems the continue after his death. Absent from the gore of Seen and the supernatural elements of Insidious, The invisible Man plays on a different kind of horror, using Adrian’s high-tech invisibility suit as the vehicle for a chilling tale of domestic violence and gaslighting. With each brush of the shoulder, veiled whisper, or physical fight with an invisible figure, Cecilia finds herself closer and closer to a nervous breakdown, her constant terror still visible on her sweaty, sleep-deprived face.
In a film with the title of The invisible Manthe visual effects can only be top-notch, and Whannell’s film looks spectacular on a budget of just $7 million. The invisible Man rivals and sometimes even surpasses the effects worked on the 2000s hollow man returning partial visibility to Adrian wearing an invisibility suit. Over all, The invisible ManThe constant tension of whether Adrian looms invisible is obviously masterful, with a kitchen-knife jump scare monster suddenly hovering, one of Whannell’s many unexpected terror hits in the film. The invisible Man is an outstanding reboot and, in its own words, a terrifying horror movie experience perfect for scaring viewers, with its sci-fi MacGuffin making its horror all the more real amid a tale of a relationship physically and psychologically abusive.
1. Upgrade (2018)
Leigh Whannell jumped into the sci-fi-horror combo with Upgrade, with a story of revenge that only gets scarier as the vendetta gets closer to realization. After his wife is murdered in a gang attack that also leaves him paralyzed, auto mechanic Gray Trace (Logan Marshall-Green) is equipped with an experimental AI dubbed “STEM” (with Simon Maiden providing the voice) . With full control over his body restored, Gray sets out to avenge his wife, who sees Gray transformed into a weapon of flesh and blood with the help of STEM. Upgrade is an ’80s sci-fi thriller brought to life in the 21st century, with STEM’s Hal-9000-like voice both humanely reassuring and technologically unsettling. While horror movie veteran Leigh Whannell might be venturing into somewhat newer waters with the body horror elements of Upgradehe easily adapts to the transition, lulling the audience and Gray himself into a false sense of security with the delight Gray has in his new physical abilities.
Upgrade is also Whannell’s first real foray into action as a director, and the film puts a very unique twist on Grey’s hard-hitting fight scenes, with STEM taking full control and eliminating Grey’s opponents with robotic moves. frightening precision. The dark tone of the story is also so much more than the facade it appears to be. With the release of both films in 2018, many compared Upgrade at Venom with a tech twist, but Gray and STEM’s banter is far less comedic, and it all falls apart with UpgradeTwist’s shocking ending that has the emotionless efficiency of a computer program. Upgrade throws action, sci-fi and horror into a proudly ’80s-influenced techno-thriller mix, and, with a TV series sequel also in the works, Upgrade get the crown of Leigh Whannelis the best directing effort to date.
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