Insidious: Chapter 3 was confirmed to be happening shortly after Chapter 2 (which cost only $5 million to produce) took in more than $40 million during its opening weekend at the U.S. box office. However, even then it seemed doubtful that James Wan – director of the first two installments in the supernatural horror franchise – would return to the helm for Part 3; partly because Wan has already revealed his intention to take an indefinite break from making scary movies, but also because he’d already jumped head-first into the world of popular action franchises, by signing an agreement to call the shots on Fast & Furious 7.

Producer Jason Blum – one of the principal forces behind such recent lucrative low-budget horror franchises as the Insidious, Paranormal Activity, and The Purge movies – previously let it be known that Insidious: Chapter 3 is going to begin shooting this summer, in order to make a Spring 2015 release date – one that’s, quite literally, a week before Fast & Furious 7 is now scheduled to arrive (following Paul Walker’s death). However, who will be directing said Insidious threequel – that Blum kept a mystery, until today.

A new Focus Features press release reveals that Insidious 1 & 2 screenwriter Leigh Whannell will make his feature directorial debut on Chapter 3, drawing from his own original screenplay. In addition, the press release confirms that Wan shall only produce this third Insidious movie, while he finishes post-production on the next Fast & Furious installment.

Story details for Insidious: Chapter 3 are scarce right now, though Whannell – also the actor who plays the comical, specter-fighting Specs in this series – has said that this next installment will focus on a different set of characters. He also let it slip that the ghost-hunting Specs, Tucker (Angus Sampson), and – most likely – Elise (Lin Shaye) will feature in the story for Chapter 3; though, despite that, the third movie will not be a direct continuation of their investigation glimpsed at the end of Insidious: Chapter 2 (for better or worse, as that scene appeared to tease the return of a familiar demon…).

Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye in ‘Insidious’

Whannell, as mentioned before, is untested in the art of directing, though after working alongside Wan on Saw, Dead Silence, and the first two Insidious movies (all of which he also wrote), it’s a fair bet that Whannell has picked up a trick or two, when it comes to scaring moviegoers. Insidious: Chapter 2 was an intriguing expansion of the story and world depicted in Part 1, though it was arguably less effective than its predecessor in the spookiness department – possibly because Wan had a little “scary moviemaking fatigue” by that point, seeing how he shot Insidious 2 so close behind filming The Conjuring. Point being: there’s room for Whannel’s direction on Insidious: Chapter 3 to be an improvement on Wan’s on Chapter 2.

There’s also still plenty of space to tell more interesting stories set within the Insidious universe, especially the kind that branch out into unexplored genre territory for this franchise – following Insidious resembling a Poltergeist-esque “family in turmoil” dark parable, and Chapter 2 unfolding as “James Wan’s The Shining.” Fingers crossed, Whannell will take advantage of that and be creative with how he continues to play in this sandbox – as opposed to, rehashing and/or convoluting what’s come before (see: the Saw franchise, after Wan and Whannell stepped away).

Insidious: Chapter 3 opens in U.S. theaters on April 3rd, 2015.

Source: Focus Features