James Wan: “With ‘Maligno’ I go back to my horror film origins, when I shot ‘Saw”

We spoke with the director of ‘The Warren File’ and ‘Aquaman’ about his new project within the genre that has marked his career. The film hits theaters on Friday, September 3.

“I wanted to do something very different, and Evil one it is the result”. The speaker is James Wan, the director and screenwriter who has become, since his inception with Saw, one of the big names in the horror genre. He, the father of the franchise Warren expedient, has also had time to get behind the scenes of big blockbusters like Aquaman, its future sequel Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom and even of Fast & Furious 7. Despite showing that his directing skills are not limited to horror alone, Wan wanted to return to his origins with his latest film, Evil one, which lands in Spanish cinemas this Friday, September 3.

The story, starring Annabelle Wallis, follows Madison Mitchell, a woman who suffers from terrible nightmares that leave her completely paralyzed. Faced with this situation, in which she witnesses macabre murders, Madison cannot sleep. Everything gets worse when discover that those dreams are really happening.

“It looks like the kind of story I’d done before, when I was studying filmmaking and imagining what I wanted to bring to the big screen.”, Wan tells SensaCine. We spoke with the director about what has inspired his new film, how the story is a metaphor for the behavior of certain people and if Evil one it will become a new franchise.


Where did the idea come from for Evil one?

From a medical concept that my wife told me, based on real events. Then I went around it to try and turn it into an interesting story. In a way I was also going back to my origins in independent horror cinema, when I made films like Saw. Evil one It is a combination of many different genres that inspire me as a filmmaker, since it has part of ‘slasher’, part of monster cinema and also psychological horror. All that was going through my head …

So, after your experience with blockbusters, it seems that you have returned to your origins.

Indeed, between the two Aquaman movies I wanted to do something very different, and Evil one it is the result. It is independent cinema, but with more money than I had when I made Saw. So in terms of resources, it is closer to movies like The Conjuring. It’s like the kind of story I’d done before, when I was studying filmmaking and imagining what I wanted to bring to the big screen. Now it is more difficult for me to shoot films like this, although I enjoy it a lot; But, as I had the opportunity, I did not hesitate to do it, because who knows when I will be able to do it again.

How did you get Gabriel to move in such an amazing way?

It was a combination of effects with real action, thanks to the incredible work of Annabelle Wallis and Marina Mazepa, who is capable of contorting in an extraordinary way.

Is the double personality of your protagonist a metaphor about the behavior of some people?

In a way, yes. And I know screenwriter Akela Cooper and lead Annabelle Wallis both saw it that way, too.


How did you shoot the action?

I used a lot of live action, combining it with ‘animatronics’ and other technologies. I think the story allowed me to be daring with the way I shoot. I like to have clear ideas from the beginning, but at the same time also keep the door open to try new things. We had a great time making this movie. I do not know when I will return to shoot a film like Evil one, so I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Are we at the start of a new James Wan horror franchise?

I try not to think about those things; but who knows? For now we have this movie, and I just hope people enjoy it. Our business is changing, and it’s hard to predict anything, but I’d like to keep exploring these characters and their stories if I get the chance. In fact, I already have it in mind. I hope the character of Gabriel will raise as much interest as other monstrous creations of mine.

What evil thing would you eliminate from the world if you could?

Cancer. My father died of cancer, so it is a personal issue for me.