James Wan is responsible for some of the most successful recent franchises, from the horror of The Conjuring cinematic universe and Insidious to the superhero genre of Aquaman (the second installation in post-production) and the big-budget action of Fast and the Furious. He is best known, however, for his portrayal of the supernatural and innovative jump scares.
New Line, a production company Wan has worked with on several projects, announced in 2015 that they had acquired the rights to film the movie adaptation of the novel The Boy Who Drew Monsters. They also stated that Wan was involved in the project and that Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing would write the script. However, there hasn’t been any news about the adaptation after the announcement.
The Boy Who Drew Monsters tells the story of JP, a 10-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome and agoraphobia who thinks something is trying to get inside his family’s house. The narrative follows him, his parents, and his best friend Nick as they go through a tumultuous journey with him. JP’s favorite way of passing the time? Drawing the monsters he sees lurking outside.
James Wan is working on a few big projects at the moment (Insidious 5 and the religious horror of the Nun 2, to name a few), but after those are finished he should really invest his time in producing and even directing this movie. here is why The Boy Who Drew Monsters adaptation needs to be his next project.
The Boy Who Drew Monsters is an Incredible Book
The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a horror novel by American author Keith Donohue, a delicate and original story that is very cinematographic. This narrative has the potential of becoming a great horror movie. The plot is original, as well as the characters that inhabit it. Following the protagonist that most of the world and even people around him choose to ignore. Donohue has a sensible way of writing the characters’ struggles as well as building an incredibly tense atmosphere in a small beach town during the winter.
The narrative has another element that has not been seen so much in recent horror tales: original monsters. Unique monsters that, alongside these unusual protagonists, create a story that is not quite like anything else seen before in cinema. The terrifying creatures JP draws will make everyone uneasy in the movie theater. The way the story uses supernatural elements are fun and surprising, like a shipwreck that happened on the shore near where the characters live and the spirits involved. The Boy Who Drew Monsters also has one of the biggest and most well-constructed plot twists of recent horror stories – something Wan would definitely make the most out of.
James Wan and Children in Horror Movies
Wan is not unfamiliar with working with a younger cast. Annabelle: Originsand Annabelle: Comes Home are just a few examples, since most of his movies include at least one great child actor. He seems to deeply understand children and how to work with them especially in relation to horror. This element is crucial to this particular story, since the main characters, JP and Nick, are children, and they are not simple characters in any way shape or form. Beyond autism, JP has a lot to deal with: his troubled relationship with his parents, living in constant fear, the loss of a sibling, and his friend who insists things are trying to get inside the house – not to mention the weird dreams and visions he starts to have.
Because of the main characters and their complexity, the people involved in this project have to not only know how to direct the kids but also to build a good environment in order for them to work. Children in horror movies are not something new, and there have been amazing child actors in recent horror movies, such as the compelling The Black Phone, not to mention the biggest box office horror success, IT: Chapter 1. So, once the young actors are comfortable and feel good to tell the story, incredible things can happen.
The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a Different Type of Story
James Wan is known for producing, writing, and directing horror movies that are big in every sense (horror, production, budget, etc.). Killer demonic nuns, entities, and cursed dolls are just some of the things Wan’s characters have faced on the big screen. However, this story is much simpler due to various elements, such as the characters’ battles being very internal for most of the story. Grief and broken relationships are some of the most important elements of this story and what makes it so special. It would be interesting to see how the filmmaker would portray these different kinds of monsters combined with the ones that are alive and haunt the characters.
Also, the narrative plays with uncertainty: from the parents wondering if their kid will ever get better to where these monsters are coming from, and ultimately what they are. This element can translate really well to a big screen, being able to play with camera movements and cinematography to enhance this continuous state of being on the edge of not knowing what’s to come.
There has been no news about the project since the rights to produce the adaptation were bought seven years ago. Nevertheless, Wan would still be a perfect addition to the movie, and fans will have to keep an eye out for any news about the project.