Your new movie They're Inside - in a few words, what is it about?
Guilt. Trauma. Lost potential.
Since They're Inside
is a movie about making a movie - is
any of the film autobiographical in any way (except for the masked
invaders I hope)? And in what way can you actually identify with Robin,
who wants to make a movie at all cost?
No, it’s purely a work of fiction. In many ways. I decided several
years ago instead of going to grad school for film, this would be my
education. It took almost 18 months to fully fund the film (in 4 rounds)
and I staked the beginning of my career on it. Creatively and financially.
of inspiration when writing They're Inside?
Next, Afflicted, The Strangers (obviously)... but also The
Signal (‘07), BellFlower, Primer. Essentially anything
shot for a micro-budget.
can you tell us about your co-writer Schuyler Brumley, and what was your
He’s fucking brilliant. Period. He
knows story and character better than anyone I know. We’ve found a great
working relationship writing together in that I tend to be very visual and
abstract, where Schuyler can churn out dialogue, beats, and emotional arcs
of what we’re going for very easily. He has the broad strokes and brings
our stories to a coherent and satisfying end. I’m able to then go in and
fine tune the details.
Do talk about They're Inside's
approach to horror?
We really wanted it to be something
that was earned. A slow burn… where we get to know the characters first,
then put them through awful things. Except for one jump scare, all the
horror in it we wanted to come from tension built up and character.
Since They're Inside
in very limited locations, what were the advantages and challenges of
that, and what can you tell us about your locations as such?
The advantages were that we could shoot out each room in a day and we
housed all the actors in the house we shot in, which helped add to the
horror but also the comradery.
The greatest challenge was just making it visually interesting. Since
we were only in the same location for most of the movie, we had to find
new nooks and crannies to film in.
All of Robin’s apartment/dungeon was shot in the back of our house in
a spare studio we had. It made it easy to build out the set over several
months, piece by piece.
few words about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
it cinematic and let the actors play off each other.
can you tell us about your cast, and why exactly these people?
Karli Hall and Amanda Kathleen Ward we cast about a year before production solely based on
their chemistry in the auditions. Alex Rinehart because her audition was creepy as
fuck. Chelsea D. Miller I knew from running track in high school. Jake
Ferree and I did a
few shorts together before. MacLeod Andrews I randomly pitched him after watching
his first feature, They Look Like People, which is a phenomenal film.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shot it in 11 days… about 6 months from start to finish. On-set was
great because we only had enough money for the picture house to be the
same house everyone stayed in. We all got along like family. It was an
adult film camp.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of They're Inside?
to be objective about it at this stage and seeing it so many times. The
few audiences I have seen it with laughed when they were supposed to laugh
and became visibly (or audibly) uneasy when they were supposed to be
scared. The critical reception has been surprisingly better than what we
thought, it’s not traditional horror film and the people that get it
(and to the end), really enjoyed it.
future projects you'd like to share?
Schuyler and I are
finishing up a couple scripts right now. It really depends on how
does for what we’ll end up making next.
What got you into
filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal training on the
Watching Jurassic Park at 10 made me want
to make movies, but I didn’t know in what way. I was living in Spain in
my late 20s and figured the best way to learn film was to move to LA. I
haven’t had any formal training, just lots of director commentaries,
reading scripts, and a shit ton of movies.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to They're Inside?
I made about a dozen short films,
many of them with the people on this production.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
Haha, someone else is better suited
to answer this.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Flanagan [Mike Flanagan
interview - click here], Jeremy Sauliner, Lynn Ramsey, James Wan,
Adam Winegard… and Ari Aster.
Jurassic Park, Moon, The
Shining, Inglourious Basterds, The Matrix, Possession,
... and of course, films you really
Good question. I think I need to be a little
further along in my career before I start venting which films I really
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Thanks for the interview!