Jame Wann is the master of making the most out of his stories and his budget. After his success with the SAW franchise he continued to strike it big with low budgets. Insidious and The Conjuring had some of the highest grossing ratio to budget projects in the last 10 years. Now, Annabelle Creation, a spinoff of The Conjuring universe looks to continue to do the same as it weaves another chapter of The Conjuring universe. We’ve already seen one Annabelle film but the topic of the sequel focuses on how Annabelle became the creepy little doll she is today.
As we mentioned before The Conjuring has become a universe full of dark characters all with their own tales to tell. In addition to Annabelle The Nun and The Crooked Man will be getting their own spinoff films in 2018.
David F. Sandberg is in the directors chair for Annabelle: Creation, which takes place several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
In an interview with IndieWire, Wan dished out some crucial principles for all horror directors to live by? Here are five of Wan’s rules for how to make a good horror film in 2017.
1. Horror doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you can’t scare an audience with a low budget, you’re probably going to struggle to find success in the horror genre. Working with limited resources forces you to be inventive, which is one of the key skills in a genre like horror that frequently recycles concepts, according to Wan. “What I think makes the horror genre so special is that the smallest things can create a big impact,” Wan said. “A creaking door can send chills up your spine, and it doesn’t cost anything.”
2. Turn classic horror on its head.
One of the techniques Wan uses with his films is taking a classic horror device and twisting it to come up with a new and unique and way of telling a story. “With ‘Insidious,’ we wanted to tell a haunted house story that really wasn’t a haunted house story at all,” Wan said. “With ‘Saw,’ it was about making a small, contained horror thriller, but one that would stand out from the pack of other indie [horror] films.”
3. Develop great set pieces.
Wan stressed how important it is to envision big-picture scenes that the audience will obsess over, like the jarring seance in “Insidious,” or Vera Farmiga’s battle against an evil painting in “The Conjuring 2.” “Your set pieces have got to be the kind of stuff that people talk about around the water cooler the morning after they’ve seen the movie,” Wan said.
4. Undermine your audience.
Today’s audiences have been inundated with so many horror films that they’re much more savvy and educated in the language of filmmaking than in previous years, according to Wan. For this reason, directors have to surprise viewers at every turn to hold their attention from start to finish. “If they’re expecting something to happen, what can you do to undermine that expectation?” Wan said. “I’m always trying to find new ways to break an audience’s expectation of the genre.”
5. Appeal to primal human fears.
Scaring audiences often comes down to tapping into people’s lifelong sources of fear, according to Wan. “Growing up, we all had all kinds of childhood fears that can kind of make for an acid flashback,” he said. “Lights Out” plays right into this principle by focusing on a classic fear that lots of people have–darkness. “That’s the genius of ‘Lights Out,’” Wan said.
Catch Annabelle Creation in theaters everywhere August 11, 2017.