Was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a horror film? In separate interviews for the movie’s arrival on Blu-ray and DVD, director J. A. Bayona and star Bryce Dallas Howard (“Claire”) give Inverse surprisingly opposing answers.

“Kind of,” Bayona tells Inverse. “It’s a movie for the whole family, so when you’re working with tone, it’s not the same. I think there are elements of horror in the story.”

In Fallen Kingdom, a sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, the world famous dinosaur zoo on Isla Nubar has shut down, inadvertently creating a black market for the remaining dinosaurs on the island.

When trailers for the film surfaced earlier this year, audiences noticed a darker, somewhat gothic imagery — sharp-toothed raptors creeping through the dark, a stormy night in a spooky mansion — which stood in contrast to previous films of the franchise.

That may have been Bayona’s doing. Before Fallen Kingdom, the Spanish filmmaker directed 21st-century horror gems like 2007’s The Orphanage and the 2016 dark fantasy A Monster Calls. He also directed two episodes of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, a genre-bending series populated by classic horror figures from Victorian and pulp literature.

Howard, who stars in Fallen Kingdom as former park operations manager turned dino activist Claire Dearing, thought it “totally” was. She knows horror too. Howard previously starred in two M. Night Shyamalan movies, The Village (2004) and Lady in the Water (2006).

“I think what works about Jurassic is that ultimately, at the end of the day, there are scary animals people are running from,” she says. “Sci-fi is, ‘What if?’ and this is what if humans and dinosaurs co-existed? The reality is that humans would be eaten. Naturally, that is a horrifying scenario.”

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Horror
Not even Freddy Kruger had claws that sharp.

The internet agrees. When reviews for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom started circulating the web, several outlets used “horror” in their headlines and URL bodies.

“Some elements feel pretty cartoonish,” wrote CNET’s Richard Trenholm in his review, “But it’s hard to resist the gothic dark-and-stormy histrionics, all secret labs and rolling thunder and a mysterious girl in the shadows.”

Bayona further tells Inverse that he referred to original director Steven Spielberg during production for “the way he balances entertainment with important subject matters.”

“He brought that sense of adventure, humor, it was thought-provoking,” Howard adds. “But it was also terrifying.”


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is out now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.