Hollywood loves a good success story, and one of the latest is Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg. The up-and-coming horror movie master is on a hot streak with his work on Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, and he will soon parlay that work into the DCEU's long-awaited Shazam movie. Taking on the origin story of Billy Batson is a massive undertaking, but Sandberg recently revealed that his work on his recent horror hit taught him how to take a more relaxed approach to his work as a filmmaker, saying:
Well I mean overall, I've been working with kids in both my movies to my success and there will be kids in Shazam and the main character is this kid who becomes an adult. But otherwise I think, I mean my first movie was just a huge learning experience in that, I'd only made no-to-low-budget shorts before back home in Sweden and all of a sudden, I got to go to film fests in America and I got to be the director. There was a lot to learn on that movie. Just how movies are made here. How things work. And then on Annabelle, there was a lot more sort of... I was lot more relaxed and could have a little bit more fun and just try out some different things, like a little bit of a different shooting style and stuff like that that I really enjoyed and I want to try to keep.
There are moments in Annabelle: Creation that perfectly showcase this evolution of David F. Sandberg's filmmaking style. In fact, in a recent conversation with CinemaBlend, Sandberg echoed similar comments about loosening up his style as a filmmaker. Rather than meticulously plan every single shot in the movie down to the frame, Sandberg has opened up since Lights Out and left room in his projects for moments of inspiration and flourishes of creativity.
Perhaps no sequence in Annabelle: Creation epitomizes that idea more than the toy gun sequence -- which involves Lulu Williams' Linda repeatedly firing a ball into a darkened hallway until a demonic presence starts to play with her from the shadows. As it turns out, the sequence wasn't actually in the script, and Sandberg found time to shoot it after it came to him in a dream one night.
Despite David F. Sandberg's remarks to Collider (and while Shazam is one of DC's most highly anticipated films), it's arguably also one of its biggest gambles. Although the titular hero certainly has his fanbase in the world of comics, he has never appeared in live-action before. Sandberg has to introduce the hero to an entirely new generation of fans, and that's no easy feat for even the most seasoned filmmaker. That said, considering the success of his most recent films, our hope remains high that Sandberg will pull this one off.