Watch: Oren Peli on eliciting genuine fear from his ‘Chernobyl Diaries’ cast

When you’re looking to elicit genuine reactions of fear from your horror movie cast, what better way than to get them than by actually scaring the living crap out of them?

That was exactly the strategy employed by “Chernobyl Diaries” writer/producer Oren Peli and director Bradley Parker during the shoot for the upcoming horror film, which centers on a group of twentysomethings who take a guided tour through a deserted town near the site of the Chernobyl disaster and get far more than they bargained for in the process.

“There are a couple of moments when [the actors were] like, you know, in the van, and without letting them know Brad would run and bang on the side of the van, and they would all scream because they didn’t know it was coming,” Peli told me during a recent sit-down to discuss the new film, which is based on an original idea of his (and which is also not a found-footage movie, though one could be forgiven for having that impression). “So we got some good authentic reactions from them.”

Of course, Peli is no stranger to the horror genre, having helmed the out-of-nowhere 2009 fright flick “Paranormal Activity.” Since the first film in the franchise he’s taken on a producorial role while working on a host of other projects (in particular the sci-fi/horror flick “Area 51,” his next directing effort), but I was curious whether he’d at all considered a return to the “Paranormal” director’s chair for future installments (and you just know there are going to be more).

So was I successful at getting a direct yes-or-no answer out of the notoriously-secretive filmmaker, who has a stated policy of never discussing forthcoming projects during junket interviews? Let me give you a hint: no. No, I wasn’t. Of course. But if you’re curious to see an example of expertly-played Hollywood stonewalling at work, you can skip to the very end of the full interview, embedded above, for a taste.

“Chernobyl Diaries” hits theaters this Friday.

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