Director J.A. Bayona on how 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' is a haunted-house movie

Will Lerner
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

Warning: Minor spoilers discussed below.

While the lush (and exploding) trappings of Isla Nubar might be featured more prominently in the marketing campaign for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, fans of the dino franchise might have noticed several shots from the trailers set an expansive mansion. It’s there that Fallen Kingdom swaps adrenalized action for edge-of-your-seat suspense.

The highly anticipated (and already successful) sequel’s director, J.A. Bayona, visited Yahoo Entertainment’s Los Angeles studios to discuss how Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is essentially a haunted-house movie with dinosaurs instead of boogeymen. Bayona told us that he was hired by Colin Trevorrow (who directed Jurassic World and serves as executive producer and co-writer for the sequel) with that in mind.

“It was in our first conversation that he told me I was the right guy to do this film because of The Orphanage, which is a horror film I did,” said Bayona, referencing his major motion picture directorial debut. “I was very surprised about that. He explained to me that he thought the second half of [Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom] was a haunted-house story. … Having the dinosaurs in a tight space, that Gothic mansion sounded a lot of fun. I was immediately in.”

Director J.A. Bayona with a deadly new dinosaur, the Indoraptor. This new dinosaur hybrid is the boogeyman during an extended “haunted house” sequence in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. (Photo: Universal)

In many ways, Fallen Kingdom is paying homage to Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, contained several terrifying sequences and jump scares. Who can forget Tim and Lex’s close shave with the velociraptors in the kitchen? Bayona wants his film’s audience to feel the connection between Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic Park, not just by the return of beloved characters but in the way it makes you feel.

“I really like that kind of Hitchcockian suspense that Spielberg did in the first Jurassic Park,” said Bayona. “I tried to do the same in this one. Colin and I worked together, trying to make the best set pieces possibles and create that sense of fear we all loved from the original movies.”

Watch Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt do their best to try and pronounce difficult dinosaur names:

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