David F. Sandberg (born January 21, 1981 in Jönköping) is a Swedish movie director. He is the older brother of indie game developer Joakim "Konjak" Sandberg.
He first started his career working on animated shorts and documentaries in Sweden. The No Budget horror short films he directed and uploaded under the alias "ponysmasher" garnered significant following on YouTube, the second one in particular, Lights Out. That success caught the attention of New Line Cinema's producers, who hired him to direct a feature length version of Lights Out. It came out to great success, grossing near $150 million on a $5 million budget.
Sandberg gained further success with The Conjuring Universe film Annabelle: Creation, which grossed over $300 million on a $15 million budget. In July 2017, he was announced to direct the DC Extended Universe film SHAZAM!, which was released in 2019 to very positive reviews, and he is expected to helm a sequel to it.
He married actress Lotta Losten in 2013. She played in his shorts and appeared in both the short and feature length versions of Lights Out, as well as in SHAZAM!.
Also notably One of Us, considering he mostly started off on Youtube, and he likes to humorously tease about his projects on social media. He's a fan of RedLetterMedia and personally asked Jay Bauman for a review of Lights Out on Twitter. He got that review... but unfortunately, Jay wasn't kind in his assessment. For better or worse, this incident made him an occasional recurring joke on Half in the Bag, though both Mike and Jay clarify they have nothing against him and think he's a nice guy.
Speaking of Youtube, Sandberg is still very active on his channel, where he provides illuminating insight on the process of theatrical filmmaking and clearing up some common misconceptions about production of major releases.
Tropes applying to ponysmasher
- And I Must Scream: Notably Pictured and Not Alone, both ending terribly for Lotta: Pictured ending with Lotta becoming trapped in the creepy picture and the ghostly entity taking her place and Not Alone ending with Lotta being stuck in a comatose state, with the entity with her.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: For all his creepy shorts, Not So Fast and Closet Space end in a much looser sense, notably with Not So Fast just being Lotta having a nightmare and David shrugging it off.
- Not Alone is his first short to feature internal monologue, something he addresses in the making of video.
- The Chew Toy: Lotta in all his shorts to the point of Running Gag where she's haunted by a supernatural force, although David has put himself as this from time to time in his shorts, notably with Self-Deprecation humor.
- Downer Ending: Not Alone has Lotta be attacked by the demon who entered her home and it ends with David coming home to find her in a comatose state, and judging from Lotta's internal monologue, it's made clear the entity is in her mind as well...
- No Ending: Some of his shorts have this, notably Lights Out and Cam Closer.
- No Budget: His shorts: He goes for super cheap and open source software as much as he can and encourages people to do what they can to make movies, regardless if they don't have "the proper equipment" as seen in his "How to Make a Shitty Dolly" video.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: 99% of all the spirits in his shorts are this, although there are times they're just a Humanoid Abomination, as seen in Coffer.