Exclusive Interview: F. Javier Gutierrez Opens Up About His Horror Inspirations

With Rings in theaters now, director F. Javier Gutiérrez talked with Monkeys Fighting Robots about the pressures of taking over a wildly popular horror franchise, horror inspirations, and the latest on ‘The Crow’ reboot.


What horror films have inspired you to go in this direction and create this piece?

Yes, well I am a huge fan of the first Rings movie, the one by Gore Verbinski. I am also a big fan of the one done by Hideo Nakata. So when I got a call from the producers to get involved with the Ring movie, I got pretty excited. I thought it’s pretty obvious that the major influences to come from those two movies. Right? The fear and surrealism of the Japanese movie and the weirdness and calmness of the Verbinski direction. I think it goes to having influential and different class … of course some of the background for me it comes from Spain.. from Directors like Buñuel. Things that I wanted and tried to input in the movie and some of the elements, unfortunately, they won’t seem significant. It’s just you won’t pick up all the influences in the movie .. probably.

Do you feel the pressure of creating a product that is as good if not better than the first two films? 

Yeah, It’s like how do you say? On one side it’s exciting because you’re part of the franchise and the other one its a lot of responsibility. It’s not only my vision as a director but I try to please the new audience that likely hasn’t seen this film ever and I also to please those who have seen the first two films.. like myself. Keep the Fear and Keep the basic elements that make this movie so special. At the same time, you have to adapt it to the new times. Make it more contemporary and more relatable for the young crowd .. right? Like the new generation. It’s part of the pressure. The producer and the studio had been working on this forever and the script .. they were trying different directions. Till everyone sat down .. well this is probably the best direction .. so that we can represent the franchise and at the same time respect the key elements of the original.

Are you rebranding ‘The Ring’ franchise or are you taking it in a different direction? 

It’s very respectable of the first movie, but we expand the Universe. We explore Samara origin and where does she come from.

Are we going to see more visually based horrors in this new intonation of ‘The Ring’?

What I’ve been doing is that I’ve been trying as much as I could to bring over my personal world like I did in Before The Fall, The colors, aesthetic, the composition. So in this movie, I don’t have full control like I did in ‘Before the Fall’ … right . I have been trying to push in my direction. So I have come up with a movie that can please the market but has a core from my personality.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least ask you about ‘The Crow.’ 

Yeah, The Crow. The Crow is still going on. It has been unfortunately a movie that has had a lot of ups and downs in the last few years. That’s why I had to depart the director’s chair. But I think … I mean the producer he’s pretty stubborn, and he’s the one putting the pieces together so hopefully, we’ll see it come together pretty soon. Hopefully … Hopefully, we can see a new Crow movie that I always said it’s not a Crow movie for the sake of a Crow movie. It’s a movie that respects James O’Barr’s original vision. It’s complicated, but hopefully, it comes together real soon.

What is one thing you hope fans will take from the film when they go and see it this weekend? 

I would say they go and see the movie with fresh eyes. I hope they enjoy the movie the way that you enjoyed the first Ring. 

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.