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[Interview] Leigh Whannell On ‘Insidious 2’, Returning Characters, Horror Budgets, The ‘Saw’ Franchise And ‘Cooties’!


Hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Insidious 2 would feature the return of writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan, we hit up Whannell for a brief, exclusive, interview about the sequel. We also touch on the Saw franchise and get an update on Cooties, a film he haven’t had an update on since last April!

In the first film, “Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) make the terrifying discovery that the body of their comatose boy has become a magnet for malevolent entities, while his consciousness lies trapped in the dark and insidious realm known as The Further.

Hit the jump to check out the interview! When I spoke to you and James in October, you said you would only return to Insidious if you had a really cool idea. Do you feel like you’re going to top the first one?

We definitely feel like we have a very cool idea, something worthy of returning to this story for. As for whether it’s going to top the original, that’s up to the audience to decide. I’m not the guy who is going to sell some line to the fans about the sequel being better than the original. Whenever I hear producers talking about a sequel to some film and they say “it’s the best one yet!”, I always call bullsh*t. What I can say is that the aim for the sequel is exactly the same as it was for the original – to make the scariest film possible that avoids the usual, cliched horror film scare tactics (such as false scares etc) and aggressively and assaultively attempts to terrify you right down to your bone marrow! We want to make a film that won’t even let you forget it when you go to sleep! It invades your sub-conscience and haunts your dreams…

Are any characters returning, or does the sequel explore themes from the original in an entirely new way?

There are definitely characters returning, but I can’t say much more than that. That may be annoying – but not as annoying as spoilers! The first film had mystery and we want the sequel to have the same thing.

The first Insidious was shot on a very low budget. Obviously it’s not likely that the sequel will be done for that price. Are you staying relatively low budget or are you going to use a larger budget and expand the scope?

I think we’ll extend the scope a little bit, but unlike other genres, I think big budgets ruin horror. All of the scariest films of recent years have been low budget independent films. Somewhere along the way, the ability to make terrifying big budget films like The Exorcist or The Shining was lost, and I don’t know if we’ll ever get it back. So I think keeping it in the spirit of the original is the best move for us. We owe it to the fans to be uncompromising when it comes to the terror.

Do you ever see yourself writing another Saw film? Whether it be a sequel or a reboot?.

I don’t know if I can see myself writing another Saw film. It’s such a special part of my life, and I almost don’t want to ruin it by going back. I’ve not talked to Mark Burg or Oren, the producers of Saw, about it, so I have no idea what their plans are. I’m sure they are enjoying a well-deserved rest! If I was to return to the world of Saw, it would have to be something very different.

What’s the status of Cooties? Any more details?

Cooties is going well, we are in the planning stages and hoping to shoot this year! I’m so excited about it, we’re aiming for it to be hilarious and horrific and completely offensive. Based on the cultural temperature of the US at the moment, I know we’ve achieved the latter.



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