Darren Lynn Bousman

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Darren Lynn Bousman
Bousman at the Repo! Road Tour 3, 2009
Born (1979-01-11) January 11, 1979 (age 45)
Alma materFull Sail University
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, producer, editor
Years active2000–present
Laura Bousman
(m. 2010)

Darren Lynn Bousman (/ˈbzmən/;[1] born January 11, 1979) is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for his work in horror films. He has directed four of the Saw films: Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, and Spiral. He also directed the horror musicals Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil's Carnival movies. Bousman is co-creator and writer of alternate reality games (ARG) and immersive experiences, The Tension Experience (2016), The Lust Experience (2017), Theatre Macabre (2018), iConfidant (2020), and One Day Die (2020).

Early life[edit]

Bousman was born in Overland Park, Kansas, the son of Nancy and Lynn Bousman.[2] He attended high school at Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, and studied film at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, graduating in 2000.[3]


Saw II[edit]

During 2004, he was pitching an idea for a movie called The Desperate to various American studios, who complained that the screenplay was too violent, and the plot was too close to Saw.[4] David A. Armstrong who worked on Saw asked Bousman if he could show the script to Saw producer Gregg Hoffman.[4] Hoffman read the script and called Bousman interested in producing The Desperate, but after showing the script to his partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules,[5] the two decided it would be the perfect opportunity to turn The Desperate into Saw II. Two months later, Bousman was flown to Toronto to direct.[5]

During the production of Saw II, Bousman directed the music video for Mudvayne's single "Forget to Remember," which appeared as the lead song on the soundtrack album.[6] Saw II was profitable and Bousman was signed on to direct Saw III, which was released on October 27, 2006.[7]

Saw III and Saw IV[edit]

After Saw III, Bousman announced that he would not direct another Saw film so that he would be free to prepare for his project Repo! the Genetic Opera, the stage version of which he had directed in 2002. Despite this, on February 19, 2007, Leigh Whannell announced that Bousman had signed on to direct Saw IV. Bousman explained that before shooting could begin on Repo! The Genetic Opera,[8] there was a gap of time during which the songs were being pre-recorded, and he would be able to direct Saw IV during that period.[9]


In 2019, it was announced Bousman would return to the Saw franchise directing Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the ninth installment in the series. The film was set to be released on May 15, 2020,[10] but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] The release of the film was moved to May 21, 2021.[12]


In 2008, Bousman directed an episode of the horror anthology show Fear Itself, entitled "New Year's Day". He has also been attached to direct the remake of David Cronenberg's Scanners. Bousman taught Film director newcomers in the Horror Film Boot Camp,[13] which ran from May 7–9, 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[14] He will direct the psychological thriller Ninety[15], written by Scott Milam.[16][17]

Bousman directed the 2010 remake of Mother's Day[18] starring Shawn Ashmore, Deborah Ann Woll, and Briana Evigan. In 2011, Bousman directed the film 11-11-11.[19] In 2012, Bousman directed and produced The Devil's Carnival,[20] a short film planned to be the first installment of a longer series. Bousman also wrote and directed The Barrens,[21] starring Stephen Moyer and Mia Kirshner, in 2012.

On May 13, 2013, it was announced that Bousman would be directing a film titled Sacrilege, another religious-themed work. In 2015, he participated in the anthology movie Tales of Halloween produced by Epic Pictures. He directed the segment "The Night Billy Raised Hell" written by Clint Sears.[22]

In 2016, he directed Abattoir, which was described as "the best 2016 horror movie you didn't see" and Bousman as "an underrated force of bold originality"[23] by Bloody Disgusting but otherwise was not well reviewed. Abattoir premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 7, 2016.

Bousman again collaborated with writer, Clint Sears, in 2018 on St. Agatha,[24] a religious horror film set in a convent in the 1950s in small-town Georgia. He next directed Death of Me,[25] another horror film, starring Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth. It was filmed in Thailand and released on October 2, 2020, by Saban Films.

Immersive Theater[edit]

Bousman began developing immersive experiences in 2016 and has co-created five experiences to date:

The Tension Experience (2016)[edit]

The Tension Experience,[26] created with Gordon Bijelonic and Clint Sears and directed by Bousman, launched on September 8, 2016.[27] The ARG immersive theater production took place over nine months, with participants unlocking secrets through various interactions in an alternate reality game which culminating in a series of two-hour live immersive experiences at a secret location in Los Angeles. The Tension Experience was set in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse and employed over 40 actors who followed different scripts depending on how participants reacted.[28]

The Verge described The Tension Experience as "A dramatically engaging, layered story experience that breathed new life into the ideas of transmedia storytelling" saying it raised the bar for the kind of emotional experiences that people can expect from immersive theater.[29] In 2018, independent film and television production company, AGBO, announced it would partner with The Tension Experience to develop new immersive experiences and support expansion of the production to more cities.[30] The first planned project was to be a permanent casino destination in Las Vegas.[31]

The Lust Experience (2017)[edit]

The Lust Experience debuted in 2017,[32] immediately following the success of The Tension Experience. A Bloody Disgusting review said The Lust Experience was a story surrounding an ancient cult that was actively recruiting new members and that "Bousman and Sears pulled every string they could to push us to our mental limits"[33] Haunting described The Tension Experience and The Lust Experience as "two interconnected multi-year alternate reality experiences that preyed on the emotions and thrived on the dedication of a loyal and widespread group of followers."[34]

Theatre Macabre (2018)[edit]

Theatre Macabre was launched in Los Angeles in 2018.[35] The eagerly anticipated immersive experience had a thousand-page script and was inspired by the Paris Théâtre du Grand Guignol, which, in 1897, "specialized in grotesque shows that explored society's darkest taboos".[32] Bousman told Daily Dead, "it is the most intricately designed and choreographed show that we've done, where there are endless possibilities when you walk through the door. Anything can happen based on your choices as a participant."[36]

iConfidant (2020)[edit]

A socially distant immersive ARG, iConfidant ran for six weeks in 2020, culminating in a "multimedia, multi-platform experience centered around the theme of connection"[37] on June 6, 2020. Participants joined a month-long journey, exploring friendship, deceit, and mental health, entering what Bousman described as a "rabbit hole [allowing participants to enter] a bizarre and distorted world". No Proscenium said, "the amount of work behind iConfidant is stunning" and noted that the show raised over $4,000 for Movement for Black Lives.[38]

One Day Die (2020)[edit]

One Day Die was a 90-minute guided online séance experience[39] that took place throughout October 2020. /Film described it as an "intense, R-rated experience". The immersive show saw participants each receive a mysterious handmade box, sent by the show's creators, that must remain sealed until the experience commenced. Participants then enjoyed "a spooky evening from the comfort of their own homes". A run of sold-out shows in October saw Bousman announce two additional encore shows in early November.[40] Daily Dead said, "Darren Lynn Bousman is one of the most inventive creators in the immersive entertainment space today and the fact that many of his events run for a limited time, means you have to catch them before they're gone forever."[41]

Personal life[edit]

He was inducted into the Full Sail University Hall of Fame in 2011.[42]

On October 4, 2008, Bousman got engaged to Laura Bosserman and married her on January 2, 2010. The couple has two children, Henry Lynn Bousman and Hadley Jordan Bousman.


Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2000 Butterfly Dreams Yes Yes No
2006 Repo! The Genetic Opera Yes No No
2015 The Night Billy Raised Hell Yes No No Segment of Tales of Halloween
2017 SockMonster No No Yes
2018 Good Girl No No Yes

Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer
2001 Identity Lost Yes Yes No
2005 Saw II Yes Yes No
2006 Saw III Yes No No
2007 Saw IV Yes No No
2008 Repo! The Genetic Opera Yes No Executive
2010 Mother's Day Yes No No
2011 11-11-11 Yes Yes No
2012 The Devil's Carnival Yes No Yes
The Barrens Yes Yes Yes
2016 Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival Yes No No
Abattoir Yes No No
2018 St. Agatha Yes No No
2020 Death of Me Yes No No
2021 Spiral: From the Book of Saw Yes No No
2023 The Cello Yes No No


Year Title Director Writer Executive
2008 Fear Itself Yes No No Episode "New Year's Day"
2014 Angelus Yes Yes No TV movie
2016 Crow's Blood No No Yes Miniseries

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Performer Director Writer
2004 "So" Static-X Yes No
2005 "Forget to Remember" Mudvayne Yes No
2013 "Fight Like a Girl" Emilie Autumn Yes Yes
2017 "Alone Land" RGK & Sabrina Kern Yes No

Immersive theater[edit]

Year Title Creators
2016 The Tension Experience Darren Lynn Bousman, Clint Sears, Gordon Bijelonic
2017 The Lust Experience
2018 Theatre Macabre
2020 iConfidant Darren Lynn Bousman, Joshua Dietz, Morgan Rooms, Amanda DeSouza, Stephanie Hyden,
Lawrence Meyers, Jace Anderson, Adam Gierasch, Santiago Vega-Albela Osorio, Max Friedlich
One Day Die Darren Lynn Bousman, Daniel Garcia, Blake Vogt, Joshua Dietz

Recurring cast members[edit]

Tobin Bell checkY checkY checkY
Shawnee Smith checkY checkY checkY
Costas Mandylor checkY checkY
Donnie Wahlberg checkY checkY checkY
Lyriq Bent checkY checkY checkY checkY
Betsy Russell checkY checkY
Erik Knudsen checkY checkY
J. Larose checkY checkY checkY checkY checkY checkY checkY checkY checkY
Athena Karkanis checkY checkY checkY
Marty Adams checkY checkY checkY
Terrance Zdunich checkY checkY
Alexa Vega checkY checkY checkY
Paul Sorvino checkY checkY
Nivek Ogre checkY checkY
Bill Moseley checkY checkY
Briana Evigan checkY checkY checkY
Shawn Ashmore checkY checkY
Emilie Autumn checkY checkY
Dayton Callie checkY checkY
Jessica Lowndes checkY checkY


  1. ^ "Darren Lynn Bousman Interview - The Overlook Film Festival 2018". No Proscenium. April 25, 2018. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  2. ^ "Special Screening Of Lionsgate's "Repo! The Genetic Opera" - Arrivals". Life.com. November 6, 2008. Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "Full Sail University: Campus and Online Degrees". Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Reset (2005). "Saw II: Director Darren Bousman & Writer Leigh Whannell". Bloody Disgusting. The Collective. Archived from the original on March 17, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Bousman, Darren Lynn (2010). "Saw II". Darren Lynn Bousman Official Site. Archived from the original on February 15, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Darren Lynn Bousman, Donnie Wahlberg and Beverly Mitchell (2006). Saw II Commentary (DVD). Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Event occurs at 1:29:11– 1:29:13.
  7. ^ "Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures Announce SAW III for Halloween 2006". PR Newswire. March 3, 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  8. ^ "Repo! or Repo Men? Which Came First? Bousman Speaks Out!". Dread Central. August 7, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  9. ^ "HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE - News & Notes". Hollywood Gothique. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Saw: Darren Lynn Bousman rebooting franchise with comedian Chris Rock". May 16, 2019. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Sneider, Jeff (March 17, 2020). "Lionsgate Delays Chris Rock's 'Saw' Movie, Janelle Monae's 'Antebellum'". Collider. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (May 1, 2020). "'John Wick: Chapter 4,' 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' Get New Release Dates". Variety. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  13. ^ "Want to Make a Horror Movie? Attend the Horror Film Boot Camp!". IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  14. ^ "Want to Make a Horror Movie? Attend the Horror Film Boot Camp!". Dread Central. August 13, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  15. ^ Miska, Brad (March 31, 2011). "Darren Bousman Talks 'Ninety' Kills, Monster Movie!". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Jacobs, Evan (April 21, 2010). "Darren Lynn Bousman and Scott Milam Reteam for 'Ninety'". Movieweb. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  17. ^ Miska, Brad (April 22, 2010). "'Ninety' Kills in 90 Mother F*cking Minutes?! Horror Bliss Anyone?". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved August 5, 2023.
  18. ^ Bousman, Darren Lynn (May 5, 2011), Mother's Day (Drama, Horror, Thriller), Rebecca De Mornay, Jaime King, Shawn Ashmore, Briana Evigan, LightTower Entertainment, Widget Films, Sierra / Affinity, retrieved March 7, 2021
  19. ^ "Darren Bousman 11-11-11 Interview". Collider. April 24, 2012. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  20. ^ theStream.tv (May 28, 2013). "THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL Director Darren Lynn Bousman - Inside Horror (#301) - video Dailymotion". Dailymotion. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  21. ^ Bousman, Darren Lynn (March 15, 2013), The Barrens (Horror), Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Allie MacDonald, Peter DaCunha, Anchor Bay Films, Voltage Pictures, The Genre Co., retrieved March 7, 2021
  22. ^ "Tales of Halloween Interview Spotlight: Darren Lynn Bousman". Dread Central. January 9, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  23. ^ Squires, John (January 16, 2017). "Darren Bousman's 'Abattoir' is the Best 2016 Horror Movie You Didn't See". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  24. ^ Bousman, Darren Lynn (February 8, 2019), St. Agatha (Horror, Thriller), Sabrina Kern, Carolyn Hennesy, Courtney Halverson, Lindsay Seim, Benacus Entertainment, Dragon Blood Holdings, St. Agatha, retrieved March 7, 2021
  25. ^ Bousman, Darren Lynn (October 2, 2020), Death of Me (Horror, Mystery, Thriller), Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth, Alex Essoe, Kat Ingkarat, Benetone Films, 13 Films, Dobre Films, retrieved March 7, 2021
  26. ^ "Darren Lynn Bousman's Immersive Theater Production The Tension Experience: Ascension to Open on September 8th". IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  27. ^ EPISODE ONE: Clint of The Tension Experience, retrieved March 7, 2021
  28. ^ Rylah, Juliet Bennett (September 26, 2016). "We Were Inducted Into A Creepy Cult At This Weird, Two-Hour Haunted House". LAist. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  29. ^ Bishop, Bryan (November 22, 2016). "Cults, chaos, and community: how The Tension Experience rewrote the rules of storytelling". The Verge. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  30. ^ "The Tension Experience Teaming Up with The Russo Brothers' Agbo to Create New Immersive Experiences in Multiple Cities, Including Las Vegas". IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  31. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 21, 2018). "Russo Brothers Find New AGBO Storytelling Front: Interactive Venture With 'Saw II's Darren Lynn Bousman". Deadline. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "A 'Saw' Maestro Takes Theater to "Trippy" Places With Immersive 'Theatre Macabre'". The Hollywood Reporter. October 11, 2018. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  33. ^ Staff, Bloody Disgusting (January 10, 2018). "I Entered A Psycho-Sexual Cult With "The Lust Experience"". Bloody Disgusting!. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  34. ^ "The Art of Abhorrence: An Evening at Theatre Macabre". Haunting. October 23, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  35. ^ Mallenbaum, Carly. "No phones allowed (but touching is)! Immersive theater takes fans out of comfort zone". USA TODAY. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  36. ^ "Interview: Darren Lynn Bousman Talks THEATRE MACABRE, His Latest Game-Changing Immersive Experience". Daily Dead. September 27, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  37. ^ friends; as "Blondie", foes alike; part-cat, Victoria is; horror, part-chameleon Behind her ever-changing exterior lies a mind obsessed with; Psychology, Criminal; film, sloths With degrees in both; Writing, Creative; writing, Victoria now works in escape rooms while; editing (June 18, 2020). "[Immersive Experience] iConfidant 2020". Nightmarish Conjurings. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  38. ^ Gossett, Kevin (June 19, 2020). "Keep the Secrets of a Stranger in 'iConfidant' (Review)". Medium. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  39. ^ Pearson, Ben (September 23, 2020). "'One Day Die': 'Saw' Veteran Darren Lynn Bousman Launches an Interactive Séance Experience". /Film. Retrieved February 25, 2022.
  40. ^ Clarke, Kristyn (October 31, 2020). "Due To Popular Demand Darren Lynn Bousman's 'One Day Die' Interactive Virtual Event Adds Encore Shows". Age of The Nerd. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  41. ^ "Darren Lynn Bousman's ONE DAY DIE Virtual Interactive Séance Experience Adds Encore Shows for November 7th". Daily Dead. October 30, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  42. ^ "Darren Lynn Bousman | Hall of Fame".

External links[edit]