Tag Archives: Jason Blum

Perri’s Coverage of SXSW 2014

SXSW_2014

Check out all of my reviews, interviews and event coverage from SXSW 2014 by clicking on the links below …

REVIEWS

INTERVIEWS

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Interview: The Cast and Crew of Insidious Chapter 2

Insidious_2First it secured a slew of positive reviews, then it snagged $13.3 million its opening weekend at the box office and after that, Insidious went on to spend a whopping five months in theaters and take a total of $97 million at the world wide box office – all on a $1.5 million budget! 2011’s Insidious absolutely earned its sequel.

Insidious Chapter 2 kicks off right where the first film left off. Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) has just returned from The Further with his astral projecting son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and the family gets a glimmer of hope that they no longer run the risk of losing another Lambert to the spirit world. However, almost immediately after relocating to Josh’s mother’s (Barbara Hershey) house, the bumps in the night and eerie baby monitor noises are back and it becomes apparent that Josh didn’t return from The Further alone.

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NYFF 2012 Review: The Bay

Typically a found footage film means one person just happens to be recording during a phenomenon and just so happens to be committed enough to risk his or her life to keep recording in order to tell the story from beginning to end in a format that just so happens to match a standard screenplay structure. Kudos to director Barry Levinson and writer Michael Wallach for making a movie that actually attempts to compile a more realistic version of found footage, but, in the end, doing so at the expense of a proper narrative and engaging characters just isn’t worth it.

Donna Thompson (Kether Donohue) is a college student interning at a local TV station who’s getting her first big gig – covering the Independence Day festivities in Claridge, Maryland. Conveniently located along the Chesapeake Bay, the day is packed with water-related events – swimming, a crab eating contest, a dunk tank and more. Too bad none of the Claridge officials properly investigated the recent case of two dead oceanographers. Otherwise they might have realized a parasitic outbreak was brewing in their pristine bay.

The story is framed just as you might expect – three years after the nightmare, Donna finally gets ahold of the footage from July 4, 2009 and opts to stitch it together, creating a found footage film. Donohue’s a fine actress, but it’s a tough sell as Levinson merely has 2012 Donna preaching to a computer camera, Skype-style in an empty room. But what makes it even tougher to connect to Donna is the fact that “The Bay” isn’t even her story. Donna commands a good portion of the film’s first act, but then we move into a montage of Donna’s 2009 footage as well as snippets from a number of other perspectives.

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Review: Paranormal Activity 3

With the Saw franchise over and done with, Paranormal Activity finally has the holiday all to itself. If you’re like me, you were rather used to Saw’s Halloween splash, spending the holiday watching helpless victims get ripped limb from limb, blood splattering everywhere and a puppet ride around on a tricycle. No, it wasn’t quality filmmaking, but it was tradition and holiday appropriate. Well, no more settling necessary. The Paranormal Activity franchise has not only continued to deliver quality material, but now, with three films under its belt, shows it has the potential at being a viable and worthy long standing tradition.

Round three picks up just before the events of the first two films, in 2005. Sisters Katie and Kristi (Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden) are in incoming baby Hunter’s freshly painted room. While there, Katie also takes the opportunity to unload some unwanted keepsakes, an old box of VHS tapes. Next year, Kristi’s house is burglarized and the only item missing is that very box of tapes.

Jump back to 1988. Young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) are doing the usual for girls their age – having tea parties, celebrating birthdays and getting dressed up for picture day at school. However, little Kristi also has another hobby, talking to her invisible friend Toby. While her mother, Julie (Lauren Bittner) writes the behavior off as mere child’s play, Julie’s live-in boyfriend, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith), becomes obsessed with Toby and the strange and inexplicable bumps in the night. In true Paranormal Activity form, he arms up with video cameras and sets them up around the house, determined to find out what’s going on while they sleep.

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Interview: Insidious’ Rose Byrne

Knowing was kind of creepy and 28 Weeks Laterpretty suspenseful, but you’ve never seen Rose Byrne handle horror as she does in Insidious. She stars as Renai, a loving mother and wife who moves into a brand new home with her family. While exploring their creepy new abode, their eldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), falls off a ladder and winds up in an inexplicable coma. With no sound reason for Dalton’s condition, he’s sent home from the hospital and that’s when the truly horrifying events begin.

Not only is Renai bearing quite a bit of emotional baggage at the start of the film, but the pressure continues to build throughout. Look at this from Byrne’s prospective; not only does she have to take her character through an intense arc, but she also must envelop herself in this supernatural world all while under the pressure of having just 22 days to shoot the film. Tough stuff, right? Maybe, but not for Byrne.

Byrne only had the best to say about this project from working with stellar co-stars to her top-notch team of horror filmmakers which includes Saw vets James Wan and Leigh Whannell as well as Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli and Jason Blum. For any actress looking to dive into the genre, Byrne certainly surrounded herself with the right people. The only downside to that? They’re quite eager to throw you into some pretty horrifying situations. Hear all about Byrne’s experience makingInsidious in the interview below and, if you don’t mind losing some sleep, be sure to check out the film’s bumps in the night firsthand when the film hits theaters on April 1st.

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Review: Insidious

It’s taken three months, but we’ve finally got a 2011 horror film worth seeing; something overwhelmingly unnerving with the power to keep you up at night, Insidious. It’s got a little Nightmare on Elm Street, a part The Exorcist and a hint of Paranormal Activity, too and the results certainly honor genre expectations all while delivering an exhilarating, unique and horrifyingly unpredictable experience.

Josh and Renai (Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) are a pretty happy couple. They’ve had their issues, but are leaving them behind by moving into a beautiful new home with their three children. All is well until their eldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), opts to do some exploring and winds up falling off a ladder in the attic. The next morning, Dalton won’t wake up. Josh and Renai take him to the hospital, but only to find out that he’s inexplicably in a coma.

Three months pass and now, not only is Dalton still in his state, but Josh and Renai have a new problem on their hands, strange and downright terrifying bumps in the night. When Renai comes to the conclusion that their new abode is haunted, unlike in any other film of the genre, the family actually moves. However, house swapping doesn’t rid them of their ghostly guests, rather intensifies the situation.

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Interview: Insidious’ Patrick Wilson

After the success of the Saw franchise and Paranormal Activity, who passes up the opportunity to work with James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Jason Blum and Oren Peli on a horror flick? Certainly not Patrick Wilson and who teamed up not only with the best of the best in the horror genre, but a talented cast too, for Insidious.

In Insidious, Wilson stars alongside Rose Byrne as Josh and Renai Lambert, a generally happy couple with promising careers and three cute kids. Problems arise when one of their kids, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), falls off a ladder and winds up in a coma – or so the doctors think. You think that’s bad? Just wait until a little while later when Dalton’s still in this state and the bumps in the night begin.

After having done big budget action films like A-Team and Watchmen, this independently run experience was a nice change of pace for Wilson. The team may have had just 22 days to film the entire feature, but between Wilson’s natural chemistry with Byrne, his existing relationship with Simpkins and enthusiasm for the unique script, making Insidious was a wholly natural and successful process. Hear all about it straight from Patrick Wilson himself in the video interview below.

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