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An Interview with John Adams and Toby Poser, Directors and Stars of The Deeper You Dig

by Mike Haberfelner

November 2020

Toby Poser on (re)Search my Trash

John Adams on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Deeper You Dig - in a few words, what's it about?


Toby Poser: Hey! Thanks for having us... The Deeper You Dig is about three lives that collide in the aftermath of a murder. Thereís guilt, thereís vengeance, thereís a motherís fierce love... all twisted up in blood, snow, creepy houses, karmic clowns, sawzalls... and a lot of digging!


Now I'm wondering, how did this project come into being even - I mean, how did you as a family unit come together and decide to make a horror movie?


John Adams: Weíd made a number of dramas and thought the horror genre would give us a lot of creative freedom, from the storytelling to the cinematography to the music to the sound design.


What can you tell us about your respective backgrounds in the filmmaking world?


Toby: I come from an acting background - theater, TV, indie film. When I hit 40 it seemed like a good time to take the reigns, so thatís when we made our first film, Rumblestrips, with our two kids (6 and 11 at the time). It was such a good time and enjoyed a fun festival ride, so we were hooked.


John: I was on a reality TV show called the Rock and Roll Acid Test in 2008, and I really enjoyed watching and hanging out with the crew, realizing it was something I was interested in.


Back to The Deeper You Dig - what were your sources of inspirations while writing the movie?


John: Nightmares. The weather.


Toby: Not to be too macabre, but right after we began shooting I had to undergo a number of surgeries for a reproductive cancer. Suddenly the story of a mother who loses her child had even deeper meaning. Fortunately our girl, Zelda, is alive and healthy (she plays Echo in the film), but what I was going through sharpened the writing for me. Also, where we live is really cinematic - the cold winter mountains... all the ice and snow. Not to mention the creepy house John was actually renovating. It became the fourth main character in the film.


Do talk about The Deeper You Dig's approach to horror!


John: We love the visceral, but weíre more interested in the psychological and emotional horror. The esoteric horror.


Toby: I second that. I like to approach any story as a drama that we then can add different textures to. In this case, supernatural and psychologically horrific angles. I like thinking of ways to connect an audience emotionally, and then sticking a knife into it, so to speak. Also, I donít think we care too much about following rules. Itís easier to honor our imaginations if we donít worry too much about rules. Zelda likes to say that she was most interested in turning the ghost story on its head... where the ghost has true agency and is a true protagonist.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


Toby: Since the three of us have strong opinions, we often shoot a scene three ways. Itís just the democratic thing to do. And then we see which direction feeds the film best while editing.


You also play the leads in The Deeper You Dig - so please do talk about your respective characters for a bit, and what did you draw upon to bring them to life?


John: The guilt I have in my dreams, and wanting to bring that to life.


Toby: Itís not a far reach, as a mother, to explore the depths of love and longing that might activate Ivyís quest to be close to her daughter again... the soul-wrenching lengths she would go to. That unconditional love was really fun to explore, especially when it came with such a twisted result!


What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


Toby: Zelda plays the 14 year old daughter, Echo. Sheís an equal creative partner. Sheís dynamite on camera, having been doing this since she was 6, but she also shares the cinematography credit with John. And then the rest of the cast is either family or friends we knew would be perfect for their roles. My mom plays the elderly Mrs. Minskey, who Ivy bilks of her money doing the bogus tarot reading (that bites Ivy in the ass down the line.) And the detectives were actually retired cops who made those scenes really sing. The store where Kurt buys his alcohol, rope and canvas is actually owned by the friendly clerk we cast. And the psychic who gives Ivy the box leading to the 7 Circles is our wonderful friend and talented actor (with the most gorgeous screen presence), Shawn Wilson. He was so perfect for the role.


Where was The Deeper You Dig actually filmed and what was it like filming there?


John: We shot in the Catskill Mountains of upstate NY where we live. It was wonderful because it really lends itself to a stark and brutal tone.


Toby: It helps too that we can walk outside our house and be in shooting heaven. Itís got the dark woods, itís off a lonely country road, itís covered in ice, snow, or colorful autumn leaves... Itís on a cold river.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


Toby: Since we are three people, we have the luxury of being spontaneous a lot of the time. We work around Zeldaís school and soccer schedules. We often work with what we have, as opposed to what we donít. We use what is at our fingertips and donít try to force too much what isnít. We donít have special lighting or intricate equipment, so that keeps it simple, which we donít ever feel bummed about. Instead, it keeps us focused on the emotional core of a scene, and how we can be creative with little.


What was the collaboration between the three of you actually like during the shoot?


Toby: Weíve been doing this for ten years - making 6 features - so Iíd say we have a rhythm by now. We work very hard, but if itís not fun we donít get far. So we keep it fun. And make sure life is compelling as possible, so we can both live and create simultaneously. For instance, since Zelda is remote learning during the pandemic, we got a camper trailer and are bumming around the USA while we can. This creates endless opportunities for cool shooting. We work it into the storyline and presto! Life and work go on in happy tandem.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of The Deeper You Dig?


John: Weíve been thrilled by the positive response. People have been so generous and we appreciate not just the positives, but also the negative criticism that we plan to apply to our next movie.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


John: Weíre working on our next feature, Hellbender... about a mother and daughter and the secrets they keep. And the power of destiny.


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find The Deeper You Dig
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find The Deeper You Dig here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever else?

Facebook: Wonder Wheel Productions


Twitter: adams_films


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


The 5th honorary member of the team is our SFX guy, Trey Lindsay. Heís the bomb. (Lulu is our older girl, who was off in college for the film.)

There are music videos on the website as well. Our band Hellbender and also previous Kid Kalifornia music/videos.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD