Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Shyamalan: Tricks of the fear trade

Will and Jaden Smith star in M Night Shyamalan's After Earth

M Night Shyamalan has revealed the sure fire way of scaring an audience has nothing to do with blood and guts.

King of the fright flicks Shyamalan has just released fear-filled thriller After Earth and spilled his secrets on how he gets viewers hiding behind their hands.

The Sixth Sense director said: "The unknown is what makes things scary. The why, how, what... That story is more frightening than 'blood dripping down the wall' horror. Plus, it's much cheaper to film."

After Earth stars Will Smith as futuristic army general Cypher, who takes his son Kitai (real-life son Jaden Smith) on a bonding trip that ends in a crash landing on Earth, which has been deserted long before.

Shyamalan said he had explored what fear can do to people while researching the film.

He said: "Cypher teaches Kitai that when you get scared, you close your senses off. It's a very Zen thing - be present, stop anticipating what's going to happen in the next moment. It's also very much about mindfulness."

He mentioned that part of his research involved a true story about a bank robbery: "There was a police officer yelling at a woman who was in the bank to 'get out', but she couldn't hear him because she was totally focused on the man with the gun. She was so scared, her senses had become completely tunnelled."

After Earth is in cinemas now.

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