10 Bizarre Ways Directors Tricked Audiences

From bearded ladies to chocolate syrup.

There Will Be Blood
Paramount Pictures

Cinema is all an illusion. Actors are playing a part, locations are fabricated, and dialogue is written to sound snappy and engaging. When the illusion works it can result in truly immersive and deeply engaging experiences that allow you to suspend the tedium of modern life.

But it takes more than just great writing and direction to transport an audience to fantastical worlds of imagination. Sometimes a director has to rely on a little cinema tricky to help sell the tale they're spinning. For better or worse, CGI is the go to tool of the day, helping create fantastical creatures, characters, environments and scenarios. When it's done well it can be breath taking, at other times, it's simply jarring.

CGI isn't the only means of creating something on screen that would otherwise be impossible to depict. Practical effects, in-camera tricks, and various other techniques are all used to fool an audiences into believing that what they are seeing is real.

These are some of the most brilliant and bizarre ways directors have hoodwinked audiences.

10. Under The Shape Of Water - The Shape Of Water

There Will Be Blood
Fox Searchlight

Director Guillermo del Toro is known for favouring practical effects and elaborate set designs over the use of CGI. His approach to filming the 2017 romantic fantasy, The Shape of Water, was no exception.

The film opens with a wonderfully hypnotic camera move that glides through a subterranean apartment, submerged beneath the ocean. Sea animals swim throughout a collection of furniture, floating in the tranquil aquatic environment. The effect is dreamlike, and highly convincing. Immediately one would think this could only be achieved through the use of highly sophisticated CGI.

In reality it was a physical set. All the household objects were suspended by a system of pulleys, which could be manipulated to give the appearance the objects were floating. The illusion of rippling water was achieved by casting light at different intensities through varies thicknesses of smoke. The pulley lines were then removed in post-production, and after a nifty bit of colour correction the illusion was complete.


Before engrossing myself in the written word, I spent several years in the TV and film industry. During this time I became proficient at picking things up, moving things and putting things down again.