For years fans of Jurassic Park have debated whether Stephen Spielberg’s prehistoric masterpiece qualified as a horror film.
After all the film’s got more than its fair share of terrifying moments; like the T-Rex toilet scene, the discovery of John Arnold’s gruesome remains, and who could forget the attack of the velociraptors in the kitchen.
But despite it’s scarier moments Jurassic Park’s widely seen as a family film, only dipping its scaly toes into the murky waters of the horror genre.
Now though with the impending release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the franchise that time forgot is ready to take the plunge into the full dank depths of the horror genre.
And who better to lead the franchise into these unchartered waters than J. A. Bayona, the man behind the terrifying Orphanage, to make the what fans who saw an early screening are calling the scariest Jurassic Park film ever released.
Earlier this week J.A. took time out of his busy schedule to talk to UNILAD about the film and we started by asking him how he felt about fan’s initial terrified reaction.
He told UNILAD:
Well it feels good to me because that was my intention from the beginning. The first time Colin pitched me the story he said: ‘I thought about you because of The Orphanage‘ and I was shocked about it and then he told me that he thought the second half of the movie was going to be like a haunted house movie, you know and I just fell in love with the idea.
And if you take a look at the first Jurassic Park it’s not that different from the thing that we’re doing here, the first Jurassic Park has this massive set piece with the T-Rex in the centre which was pretty scary.
Then it focuses into a more claustrophobic atmosphere with the famous scene of the velociraptors in the kitchen so I felt that was part of the DNA of the saga. Everyone wanted to be scared again of dinosaurs in a very strong way, so we went for it.
Colin Trevorrow, the man who resurrected the Jurassic franchise, has been very open about wanting to make this film the scariest in the series.
In an interview with Jurassic Outpost, Trevorrow promised that the film would be ‘more suspenseful and scary’ than its predecessor and that Bayona’s horror pedigree made him the only choice to direct the film.
Of course J.A. was also very aware that he wasn’t making the next instalment in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Conjuring so he was carful to include what he called ‘comedy’ to the film.
He explained to us that he believes the Jurassic films are successful because like the dinosaurs at the centre of these movies they’re a chimera, but rather than being made of frog and dino DNA, they’re a mixture of fun and thrills.
J.A. detailed how he walked this fine line by using the opening of Fallen Kingdom as an example (look away now spoilerphobes!) and how he played up the horror of the deadly T-Rex in a ‘fun way’.
The scene at the beginning where you have the T-Rex and there’s a moment where you discover that the T-Rex is there through the lighting.
It’s scary but it’s fun at the same time, you know it’s playful, but at the same time scary.
I like the idea that you see the T-Rex only from time to time under the light from the helicopter and that’s kind of the playful scariness we were trying to do through the film.
Bayona is also very aware that the dinosaurs aren’t the franchise’s real villains, they’re just animals following their natural instincts, the series’ real villains have always been the humans.
From Dennis Nedry to Billy Brennan the foolish actions of humans has always been what put people in danger.
Even in the original Jurassic World the Indominus Rex, the closest we’ve ever gotten to an out an out malicious dinosaur, is just the arrogance of the park’s genetic engineers made flesh.
In Fallen Kingdom J.A. believes that the film’s real villains are those who warp science for their own ends, a theme he believes runs through the Jurassic series.
We shouldn’t blame science, we should blame the wrong use of science and in that sense the Jurassic stories are always moral tales. They tell you what’s the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do.
Science is a gift and it’s important to point out who are the bad guys and punish them in the end because that’s how storytelling works.
And finally does J.A. think the original Jurassic Park is a horror film? Well yes, and no.
As I think I was saying [the original] is a horror movie but it’s playful, you know it’s a family movie, so it’s the type of scare where there’s always a fun aspect attached to it.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is out in cinemas June 6.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.