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James Wan breaks down the most terrifying scene in 'Aquaman': 'This is not the movie to be subtle with' (SPOILERS!)

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • James Wan
    James Wan
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When it came to approaching Aquaman, director James Wan looked at the often-conflicting ways that we view the ocean.

“On one hand, we think the ocean is a beautiful, magic place. It’s incredible, it’s full of life,” Wan told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above). “But then on the other hand, we also know how scary it can be. We’re terrified, and we all have fears of the ocean, and movies like Jaws really play on that in a big way. So I wanted to capture both emotions, both feelings.”

The terrified point of view especially comes through during the Trench sequence. The scene finds Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) stalked by the Trench, deep-sea-dwelling creatures/nightmare fuel — and allowed the horror pro Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, etc.) to flex his fright-inducing chops.

One of the Trench, a ferocious deep-sea race featured in the <i>Aquaman</i> film and comics. (Photo: DC/Warner Bros.)
One of the Trench, a ferocious deep-sea race featured in the Aquaman film and comics. (Photo: DC/Warner Bros.)

“When I got to that Trench sequence, I knew that I could sort of rely on my horror love to dive into the more scary aspects,” Wan said. “I get to play with sea monsters, and that was one of the biggest attractions for me about signing on to this project in the first place. I get to do Aquaman versus sea monsters. That was the selling point. That was how DC sold me. I was like, ‘That’s it! I’m sold!’ (No wonder Wan chose Aquaman over the Flash movie.)

While it’s the scariest moment, the trench scene is relatively tame compared with some of the more outrageous elements of Aquaman — ahem, drum-playing octopi (which, Wan says, is a nod to the hero’s comic-book sidekick Topo — which prompted reactions from critics and bloggers who’ve called the movie “insane,” “bonkers,” “bananas,” and “bats***.”

“I needed to embrace [my vision]; I couldn’t shy away from that,” Wan said. “This is not the movie to be

The <i>Aquaman</i> movie’s musical octopus is a callback to the hero’s pet, Topo, in DC’s old-school comic books. (DC Entertainment)
The Aquaman movie’s musical octopus is a callback to the hero’s pet, Topo, in DC’s old-school comic books. (DC Entertainment)

Wan says some of the more outrageous characters they initially drew from the comic books, like half-men, half-shark guards, were ultimately cut. Still, he loves the descriptions the film has drawn.

“I take all of them as compliments,” he laughed.

Aquaman is now playing.

Watch James Wan talk about why he directed Aquaman instead of The Flash:

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