The final WonderCon panel to take over the Anaheim Convention Center’s Arena stage today was hosted by Blumhouse Productions, offering fans a glimpse at upcoming horror fare like the micro-budget “found footage” thriller The Gallows, the innovative set-within-social-media feature Unfriended, the franchise sequel Insidious Chapter 3 and, in a surprise appearance, even the upcoming Sinister 2.
Written and directed by newcomers Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff, The Gallows was made on a shoestring budget and was recently picked up by Blumhouse and New Line Cinema for distribution. Taking the stage, Jason Blum explained that his studio had largely moved away from found footage, saying that it’s so hard to really get right. He suggested that Lofing and Cluff have really achieved something special with the use of it in their film.
Set twenty years after an accident caused the death of the lead actor during a high school play, students at the same small town school resurrect the failed stage production in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy — but ultimately find out that some things are better left alone.
A brief teaser for The Gallows was also shown, but it has not yet been made available online. We did catch up with Lofing and Cluff backstage, however, so look for our interview with them very shortly.
Following The Gallows was a look at Unfriended — the upcoming thriller that takes place entirely on a computer desktop. Screenwriter Nelson Greaves took to the stage, joining stars Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki and Courtney Halverson.
“I remember the first time we did a take, I was authentically screaming,” joked Olstead. “I’m not good with horror films and I was just losing it.”
The story in Unfriended unfolds over a teenager’s computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance for a shaming video that led a vicious bully to kill herself a year earlier. As such, some of the takes in the film actually ran the film’s entire running time, requiring the cast to approach the material almost like they would a stage play. In fact, the final scene of the film is actually the end of an 85-minute take!
Unfriended also aims to create an iconic new big screen killer in Lara Barns, the story’s seemingly back-from-the-dead suicide victim.
“Laura is everything that’s scary about the internet,” says Greaves.
Insidious Chapter 3, then, welcomed director Leigh Whannell and stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Angus Sampson and Lin Shaye, who revealed two clips from the June 5 release. The first has also been released online and it can be viewed in the player below. The second catches up with Scott’s Quinn Brenner a bit later in the story, following some kind of incident that has roughed her up quite a bit and put her in a wheelchair. In the scene, she’s in some kind a hotel, frantically pushing the button for an elevator. Suddenly there’s someone behind her — some kind of human shape that appears to be wearing a respirator — who pulls back her chair and begins to push her rapidly down the hallway. It turns and throws Quinn from the chair, violently tossing her onto an empty hotel room floor. From around the corner, there can be heard a noise as something approaches. It’s a woman with no eyes or mouth whose hands and feet have apparently been amputated. Crawling on all fours, the humanlike creature moves towards Quinn.
“This guy’s real,” says Mulroney of the film’s supernatural foe, who is being dubbed “The Man Who Can’t Breathe,” “”He causes harm… He’s an active bad guy.”
“To me, he’s the physical embodiment of cancer,” says Whanell, “…He symbolizes all the pain and misfortune that can visit people in their life.”
Thing wrapped up with the surprise debut of a Sinister 2 teaser, which you can check out now in the second player below and stay tuned for the trailer on April 9! There’s also a brand new poster for Insidious Chapter 3, which you can check out in the gallery viewer at the bottom of this page.