The Cinema of James Wan

Critical Essays


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About the Book

An auteur and the creator of multiple cinematic universes, James Wan has become one of the most successful directors in history, his films breaking box office records worldwide. Yet there is little scholarship on Wan’s work. This collection of new essays fills the gap with contributions from around the globe offering analysis of his film and television productions, including Saw (2004), Aquaman (2018) and The Conjuring Universe franchise, along with less well-known works like Death Sentence (2007), Dead Silence (2007) and his pilot for the new MacGyver series. For the first time, Wan’s films are explored in-depth from wide range of critical perspectives.

About the Author(s)

Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns is a professor at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)—Facultad de Filosofía y Letras (Argentina). He teaches courses on international horror film and has written about the Spanish horror TV series Historias para no Dormir and the Frankenstein bicentennial. He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Matthew Edwards is a primary school teacher and freelance writer from Cirencester, England. He is the author or editor of numerous books on world cinema.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Matthew Edwards

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 221
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8335-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4332-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: James Wan, Auteur
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns and Matthew Edwards 1

Migratory Anxieties and Diasporic Communities
Insidious Identity Politics: The Horror of Home
Rebecca Wynne-Walsh 17
Aquaman as ­Meta-Utopia: A Nozickian Reading
Adam Lovasz 33
Occupy and Replace: A Migratory Reading of Possession in The Conjuring 2 and Annabelle: Creation
Shastri Akella 53
Aquaman and American White Supremacy
Luis A. Grande Branger 71

A Gendered Cinema of Violence and Horror
Make Technology Suffer: The Hypermasculine in Death Sentence, Furious 7 and MacGyver
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 93
State of Exception in Saw and Death Sentence: Choose Your Type of Antihero
Emiliano Aguilar 109
The Absent/Omnipresent Female Voice in Dead Silence
Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns 127

Wan and the Classical (New) Horror Film
James Wan’s Dead Space: The Conjuring Films, Siegfried Kracauer and the Revenge of Physical Reality
Joshua Schulze 143
Chromatic Hauntings: The Uncanny Color Design of James Wan’s Horror Films
Cody Parish 155
Suburban Gothic and Cosmic Horror in Insidious
Elisabete Cristina Simões Lopes 173
“Do you want to play hide and clap?” The Jump Scares of James Wan’s Supernatural Horror Films
Brandon R. Grafius 193

About the Contributors 209
Index 211