The Conjuring (James Wan, 2013)
Insidious: Chapter 2 (James Wan, 2013)
God I love the light in this film. The first Insidious also had a way with light, but was restrained to more oppressive greys, until it’s final, lantern-journey act let loose. The sequel seems to fully intend exploring the expressive capabilities of light. And so the red doors and blue lanterns return again, but now there is also harsh natural light, soft red-pinks, oranges, yellows, unnatural tv screens, squares of red. The Conjuring operates on a visual restraint, reigning in Insidious' more baroque touches for a modulation of greys, browns, yellows. Insidious: Chapter 2 explodes the first film; it’s his most wildly expressive yet.
Interesting (and impressive) Wan’s use of the “painting” (is that what that is?) here as a negative space, or some sort of palette that removes Patrick Wilson from the surrounding space (while Rose Byrne’s character is given an effectively blank space that is almost as strong within the sequence). The subsequent scare is prefigured by this space abstracted from the surrounding wall, the composition also underlining machinations of the plot we’ll later come to know (Wilson’s psychic abilities). It reminds me of a similar use of painting as visual alarm in Die Hard.
Day of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1985)