Patrick Wilson; The New Leading Man in Horror


Today Patrick Wilson celebrates his 44th birthday, and when he began his film career a little more than a decade ago there was no way of predicting he would be the leading face of the horror genre today.  Here are six movies that prove Patrick Wilson has arrived as a star in the horror genre.

1. Hard Candy

In 2005 Wilson was a newcomer to the movie industry along with co-star Ellen Page, who was equally unknown to the mainstream audience at the time.  Together they created movie magic in Hard Candy.  It’s hard to talk about this movie without high praise not only for its clever and addictive plot, but even more so for its actors.  With 99% of the film resting upon Wilson and Page’s shoulders they made it look all too easy to pull off.  Unfortunately it’s also extremely difficult to talk about this movie without spoilers.  What I can say is Wilson’s performance was painfully believable as Page’s character, Haley, pulls a bait and switch to for Wilson to expose the dark secrets she believes he is hiding.  Wilson’s believable emotions, persuasive dialogue and undeniable charm have you questioning what you believe, even after the credits roll.

2. Lakeview Terrace

Later in 2008 Wilson starred alongside infamous co-star Samuel L. Jackson in Lakeview Terrace.  In this movie Jackson plays a power hungry LAPD officer who is hellbent on forcing out the interracial couple who recently moved in next door played by Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington.  While it’s hard not to fall into Jackson’s shadow in any of his movies, Wilson held his own going toe to toe with the veteran actor.  Even more frightening than the thriller’s intimidating antagonist is the fact the film is based on a true story that occurred in Altadena, California.  While the real life story may not have ended the same as the fictional story, no office should abuse the badge the way this man did.

Despite his early success when he began acting nothing could have predicted the way his career was about to explode with the release of two horror movies in 2010 and 2013.  The two movies I speak of, of course, are Insidious and The Conjuring.

3. Insidious: Chapter 1

The success of Insidious spawned two sequels with the fourth installment currently under production.  In the paranormal horror Wilson plays husband and father Josh Lambert.  As a child Josh had a connection with the paranormal world where a parasitic spirit of an old woman haunted the young boy.  However, with the help of demonolgist Elise, played by Lin Shaye, he is able to suppress his ability to astral project.  This action cut off the terrorizing old woman who terrorized Josh and he was able to live a normal life.  Throughout his adult life he is no longer haunted by the spirit.  Unknowingly, Josh passes the ability of astral projection onto one of his sons.  It is again with Elise’s help that he has to remember and then embrace his ability to confront the paranormal beings who haunted him as a child and rescue his son.

4. Insidious: Chapter 2

With the success of the original a sequel quickly followed by the original movie’s director and writer, James Wan.  In the sequel it is discovered Josh Lambert did not come back from the other side alone, known as ‘The Further,’ where he rescued his son.  In Insidious: Chapter 2  we learn Wilson’s character has become possessed by the spirit of the old woman he was haunted by as a child.  Slowly his body begins to deteriorate as he falls further and further under possession.  It is in this movie that we learn the old woman who is possessing Josh is not an old woman, but a transgender serial killer known as the “Bride in Black,” aka Parker Crane.

As Josh’s body is taken over by the spirit of the serial killer his own spirit is trapped in ‘The Further’ with the spirit of Elise who was killed by the possessed Lambert in the previous film.  Together they search for a way out.  It is here where they find Parker’s mother instructing him to kill Lambert’s family so his soul can stay in the new body.  With Elise’s help she and Josh defeat Parker as well as his mother, allowing Lambert to take back control over his body and save his family.  To conclude the sequel both Josh Lambert and his son both get their memories of being able to astral project erased from their minds so they can no longer enter ‘The Further.’

5. The Conjuring

Perhaps Patrick Wilson’s most popular leading role is in The Conjuring series, also directed by James Wan, where he portrays real life demonologist Ed Warren. Real life ghost hunters Ed Warren and wife Lorraine Warren, portrayed by Vera Farmiga, spent decades helping those under paranormal attack and demonic oppression and possession.  Movie makers saw an opportunity in these stories and began The Conjuring movies.

While it is not the first case the Warrens investigated together, the first movie is about their involvement in the Perron’s family home in Rhode Island.  In this encounter they tried to rid the spirits from the family’s home.  In the movie the Warrens are called in to gather evidence of the haunting and discover it is so much more than just a paranormal occurrence, but a demonic attack.  They must perform an exorcism on the home, but need approval from the Church.  In the meantime the demon takes over the body and soul of the mother of the Perron family, played by Lili Taylor.  Instead of waiting for the Church’s approval Ed preceeds to perform the exorcism.  Successfully vacating the demon from Mrs. Perron’s body and freeing the home from the malicious activity the couple go back home to Connecticut.  This is where they receive a message about a family needing their assistance in Long Island, alluding to the Amityville Horror, which is another real life case they assisted in.

6. The Conjuring 2
In the sequel, The Conjuring 2, the Warrens travel to England to assist in the case of the Enfield Poltergeist.  A family falls under attach by poltergeist activity which focuses on the second oldest daughter, Janet.   It follows a similar formula as the first with Ed and Lorraine helping a family haunted by the paranormal as they gather evidence of the haunting and realize there is something much more evil going on in the home.  However it is Lorraine who is plagued by visions from the demon, believing Ed’s life is in peril in connection to this case.  As her visions of Ed’s demise are about to come true it is Lorraine who condemns the demon back to hell, saving not only her husband by the family as well.

While everyone has their own opinion if the Warrens were real ghost hunters or con artists, I was raised in the state they lived in and have seen Lorraine Warren speak on many occasions.  I also knew of her husband and his work, and read their books.  I feel Wilson’s portrayal, as well as Farmiga’s, were very accurate and true to the real life people they portrayed.  From many accounts Ed was compassionate, caring, but also completely devote in his beliefs and would never turn down a person in need, and Wilson conveyed these traits in spades.

The third Conjuring movie has not just been announced, but confirmed as well as begun development.  While we know director James Wan plans to take a backseat on this movie’s production, the reprise of Ed Warren by Patrick Wilson has not yet been confirmed or denied.


Just because… 🙂