When we think of some of the most iconic horror movie franchises, there are a few directors that come to mind. There are filmmakers like John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Guillermo Del Toro, Ari Aster, etc. But there's one who's managed to stay relevant since his career began, whilst building unforgettable franchises every few years. That is James Wan. His portfolio is full of iconic horror films and series. And even his non-horror films like "Aquaman" and "Furious 7" were all well received. His newest project "Malignant" arrives to terrify audiences this weekend in theaters and on HBO Max. To give you a little taste of what to expect, we've pulled together three of the best James Wan horror movies you should watch right now.
Our first pick is actually the second film that James Wan ever directed. And it's one that all horror movie buffs will recognize. With the release of this film, the phrase "Do you want to play a game?" would never be asked the same way. The twisted game of torment created by the film's Jigsaw killer was one that started an entire franchise of terrifying feats where victims were forced to make life-or-death decisions. What set the film apart from other slasher films was that it was more complex. Each riddle had a solution where theoretically the captor gave the victim a chance to live. But the sacrifice that would need to be made was never an easy one.
Our next pick is one that actually somewhat takes place in someone's dreams. Wan introduces us to a terrifyingly abstract concept known as astral travel. It refers to the ability of someone's soul to leave their body while they sleep and travel through the universe. When a young boy Dalton unknowingly astral travels, he goes a little too far and gets caught in some kind of purgatory. This leaves his physical body open to be possessed by demons and any other creatures lurking looking for a new host. Good luck sleeping after watching this...and make sure to keep your astral travels a limited distance.
To conclude our list, we saved the best for last. What makes the films in this franchise so frightening yet so captivating is that they're based on true events. This film introduces you to two of the bravest and sweetest people, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They're paranormal investigators that are out to help as many people as they can who are dealing with being haunted. Warner Bros. released the latest film in the franchise "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It" this summer, and it's now available to stream on HBO Max. But the first film is still the best, and this flick is Wan's highest-rated film, at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you only have time to watch one James Wan movie before heading to watch "Malignant," this is the one.
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Jesse is a writer and content manager for Noovie. When he's not working, he's on the beach playing volleyball.