Before being chosen to helm the DCEU’s Shazam!, David F. Sandberg didn’t jump out as the obvious candidate to direct a candy-colored and irreverent comic book adaptation that was effectively Big with superpowers.
His background lies almost entirely in the horror genre, with ingenious chiller Lights Out and The Conjuring Universe sequel Annabelle: Creation his only pair of feature-length efforts before he landed the Shazam! gig. As it turned out, Zachary Levi’s debut as the iconic character was one of the DCEU’s best-ever movies, not to mention a critical and commercial success.
That being said, it isn’t as though Sandberg has turned his back on darker fare altogether. When asked to name his favorite comic book movie that wasn’t Shazam! during an Instagram Q&A, the filmmaker plumped for David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, which was so reflective of its distinctive director’s style that it’s easy to forget the grim action thriller was even based on a graphic novel.
These days, A History of Violence is remembered for being the last Hollywood film that was made available to purchase on VHS, but maybe Sandberg’s followers unaware of its merits will be enticed to check it out now that it comes with the recommendation of the man behind Shazam!.