Jonathan Liebesman / Sony Pictures

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The story of a wrongly executed woman who returns for revenge from beyond the grave, Darkness Falls posed a narrative challenge: to lay out the events leading to the woman’s execution, provide motivation for her reappearance as a ghostly entity, and establish the culpability of the townspeople— all in the shortest possible amount of screen time before the main story begins.

While at Imaginary Forces, the first company he founded, Kyle Cooper directed a second unit live-action shoot for the prologue sequence. This sequence sets up the crucial backstory in a visual language that dovetails with the language of the rest of the film.

A collection of antique photos from the era and various props were ignited practically and were consumed by fire. As these elements began to catch fire and burn, the distortions, blistering paper, and shattering glass were captured on film. The sequence culminates in the explosion of the jar of preserved teeth, taken by the tooth fairy in the story.

The burning photos and props were edited together for content and timing, matching the sound cues and the voiceover content. The main title fades up in blood red and transitions into the first scene.

The main on end titles and the elaborate end crawl sequence serve to bookend the earlier prologue and introduce the additional element of motion graphics, whose animation mirrors the wisps of practical smoke and fire. The fire-damaged photos from the prologue reappear in dynamically designed layouts with the credits, which then flow into the end crawl.

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LIVE ACTION | TITLE SEQUENCE