Horror movies, are, by their very nature, challenging to create. Whether you're using digital or practical effects, it takes talent to make the violence appearing on screen look real to be convincing to an audience. However, Zachary Galler, Director of Photography for the upcoming movie, The Grudge, says his biggest challenge wasn't finding the right angle to shoot a prosthetic, it was figuring out how to deal with the sun.
Last year, I got to visit the set of The Grudge, the new horror film from director Nicolas Pesce. The shoot took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and as Zachary Galler told myself and others on-set, the decision to shoot there, in June, put him in a unique situation. According to Galler...
It’s been a challenge to figure out how to shoot a movie that takes place mostly at night in the middle of a Canada summer.
The Grudge, like most horror movies, takes place largely at night. The dark is scarier, after all. According to director Nicolas Pesce and producer Schuyler Weiss, the location of Winnipeg was chosen because the city where The Grudge takes place is never specifically given in the film, it's designed to be taking place "anywhere" and Winnipeg worked well as a stand in for any somewhat generic suburban location in America.
However, shooting that far north in June meant that it got dark late and got light early. Your movie is going to take far too long to shoot if you only shoot at night, and your period of actual darkness is severely limited.
Of course, this eventuality was planned for, it's not like nobody knew where they were filming, and steps were taken so that The Grudge could film more of its "nighttime" sequences during the day. Geller explained...
It’s dark for five hours a night here and a lot of the movie takes place at night, so we were able to say ‘ok, we’re gonna have to build a giant tent around this whole house just to be able to shoot night whether it’s the middle of the day or not because there’s not enough hours of night in a day.
There was a need to film during the summer of 2018 because originally, the new Grudge movie was slated for a summer 2019 release. However, the movie hit a stumbling block in the form of a lawsuit, with original Ju-On producer Taka lchise. Those issues are now behind the film and it's set to open next month. However, one has to figure that if the production had known it wasn't going to open until January 2020, it could have started filming later in the year and avoided those pesky Canadian summer issues.
It seems that shooting day as night may actually have been one of the more challenging things that The Grudge had to do from a photography standpoint. Zachary Galler actually praised the VFX team for the practical effects they created, that were realistic looking enough that filming them was quite easy.