10 Recent Movie Effects You Thought Were CGI (But Weren't)
Perhaps the single most startling moment in the third Conjuring film occurs right at the beginning, when during the opening exorcism scene we witness a possessed young boy, David Glatzel (Julian Hilliard), rising up from a table while bending over entirely backwards.
It's a jaw-dropping shot, and one most audiences would surely assume was achieved with a combination of visual effects, wire work, and perhaps even puppetry.
However, director Michael Chaves confirmed that it was actually carried out entirely practically, with 12-year-old contortionist Emerald Wulf being drafted in to perform the manoeuvre without any wires or VFX enhancement (apart from Hilliard's face being pasted over her own). Chaves said:
"That's all in-camera and it's not sped up at all... We did have CG in that we did face replacement, but there is no wire work, that's all her just doing it. What's crazy is that's at speed. The plan was she was gonna do this slow rise up and we did a couple takes like that, and then I was asked Emerald, 'Can you do that any different?' And she was like 'I could do a really fast version,' and she did it and you could just hear [the crew] trying to like keep their lunch in because it was just so unnerving. And Patrick [Wilson] and Vera [Farmiga]'s honest reaction [is in] there when they're looking at her."