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The Boogeyman director explains how to make a perfect jump scare

Rob Savage took on Stephen King with The Boogeyman, and the director understands how the best horror movies make the most of truly terrifying jump scares.

The Boogeyman director Rob Savage knows how a jump scare works

Jump scares are a massive part of the best horror movies, particularly in the modern era. There are few cinematic pleasures as instinctive and joyful as a good jolt of sudden fear. That’s something The Boogeyman director Rob Savage certainly kept in mind when adapting Stephen King‘s short story.

The Boogeyman is a 90-minute ride of well-executed jumps, as we explained in our The Boogeyman review. In an interview with Collider, Savage explained that there’s a very precise art to making audiences drop their popcorn in fright.

He said: “I think crafting a good jump scare is about understanding what the audience is expecting from you. So, putting the audience in a situation where they feel like they know the roadmap of how you’re gonna get there.”

Savage said that audiences now understand “the language of horror” and are wise to classic tricks like “somebody opening a mirror cupboard and then closing it and someone’s behind them”.

That doesn’t work now in new movies for savvy horror fans, according to Savage. And after all, he would know, having made two bona fide ghost train ride delights with Host and Dashcam in the last few years.

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He added: “If you pan the camera away and then you pan it back, they’re gonna expect someone to be there. Playing with a familiar rhythm and then playing the offbeat, going a bit too early or going a bit too late, or playing a scene in the daytime where the code of conduct says I’m safe in the daytime when these characters are sitting having a cup of tea and then suddenly there’s a red demon behind [them], things like that. James Wan is amazing at doing this.”

Savage is certainly correct to cite Wan, who has given us many of the best movies in the horror world over the last decade, including with the Insidious series and The Conjuring movies. He knows his way around a jumpy set piece or two.

For more from The Boogeyman, read our Rob Savage interview and our Chris Messina interview. You can also find out more about The Boogeyman monster and read The Boogeyman ending explained.

Elsewhere, we think Stephen King just gave us a bizarre It sequel idea and it turns out Stephen King wants The Boogeyman director to remake this movie next.