Shawn Levy may be better known for directing comedies such as Free Guy and Night at the Museum, but he’s mastering the art of horror thanks to Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Speaking with ABC Audio at the Stranger Things season 4 red carpet premiere, Levy compared learning how to direct horror to learning a new language.
“Horror is really challenging to me because it doesn’t come as naturally to me. Comedy comes naturally. Emotionality comes naturally to me. Horror is not my sweet spot,” the Oscar-nominated producer admitted. “I’ve had to learn it like a new language.”
Levy credited Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things, for showing him the ropes. “When you have teachers like that, it gives you a good head start,” he said.
So, what was the most important lesson he learned from the Duffer brothers? “Lean into the darkness and don’t always feel the need to shine a light on. Just let it sit in the darkness.” As a result, Levy says, “[I’ve] become more fluent in the horror genre.”
Stranger Things returns for its fourth season on May 27. Levy says fans should buckle up: “It’s scary as hell,” he said of the new season. “I’m not going to lie. It’s a very creepy, dark season.”
Thrills and chills aside, Levy assured, “I think it’s important to [let] people know it’s still got that Stranger Things‘ heart and soul and the characters that we all love so much.”
Season 4 is also the penultimate season of the horror franchise. “It’s … the beginning of the end,” said Levy, “which is inherently very bittersweet.”
Stranger Things airs new episodes starting next Friday, May 27, on Netflix.
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