When last we left James Wan, the one-time wunderkind who directed Saw six years at the relatively young age of 27, he was at the helm of two commercial and critical failures, Dead Silence (21% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Death Sentence (19% on the Tomatometer). Wan directed Saw seven years ago from a screenplay by one-time Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology classmate Leigh Whannell. A significantly bigger success than either Wan or Whannell had anticipated (both smartly took gross points), Wan moved to the producer's chair for subsequent sequels in the still ongoing Saw franchise, but since then, his directing career has taken a step back with each release.

Wan hopes to change his fortunes, commercially, if not critically, with his next horror-themed film, Insidious, premiering in several weeks time as part of the Toronto Film Festival's Midnight Madness program. Insidious reunites Wan with Whannell for their third collaboration (Whannell also wrote Dead Silence). Wan, however, already has his next project lined up. According to Deadline, he's set to direct Nightfall, the big-screen adaptation of a little-known graphic novel published three years ago by Platinum Studios (Cowboys & Aliens). Written by Scott O. Brown with art by Ferran Xalabarder, Nightfall has a simple premise with some potential: a Texas prison secretly run by vampires and a lead character, David Paxton, described as an "industrious, right-wing survivalist" on Amazon.com, who finds himself imprisoned with said vampires and attempts to escape the prison before he becomes their next meal.
Nightfall could be gory, bloody, dumb fun or it could be dull, unengaging, uninspired non-fun. Or worse yet, it could end up as unintentional camp. It's in Wan's hands now, so we'll have to wait another year or, most likely two, before we see the result. Maybe Wan can take give David Slade, the director of 30 Days of Night (let's not mention the obvious cash-grab that was The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and instead focus on the positives), a call and ask for pointers. Maybe not.

So what do you think of the premise? Of another graphic-novel-you've-never-heard-of getting picked up for another big-screen adaptation? And what do you think of Wan directing this particular property or Wan's directing skills in general? I'd like to give Wan the benefit of the doubt, but he certainly hasn't made it easy.
categories Cinematical