Your new movie Spirits in the Dark - in a few words, what is
The story centers around a lonely widower named
Gil Spencer, who finds a mysterious video on his computer that leads him
to an abandoned town occupied by an ominous entity.
in the Dark being a ghost story of sorts, is that a genre at all dear
to you, and some of your genre favourites?
I’m very much
fond of ghost stories and have some genre favourites, though I prefer
those films that deal with the emotional and transcendental aspects of
being haunted while providing very little, yet powerful surprises in the
long run. Ghost Story with Casey Affleck – hidden into a
$10 bedsheet – and Rooney Mara as well as I Am the Pretty Thing That
Lives in the House and The Presence with Mira Sorvino have been
(Other) sources of inspiration
when writing Spirits in the Dark?
pre-production, I played with some horror games and the most effective one
was a free experimental game titled Slender: The Eight Pages. It
was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to shoot a movie about the title
character Slender Man as Sony released their own version
this year, nevertheless, the atmosphere of the game stayed with me for a
long time and right after that I started writing the first draft of the
Do talk about your movie's approach to horror for a
Regarding this film my plan has always been to present
a mixture of traditional horror films, point-of-view films, survival games
and experimental films and I believe that’s what Spirits in the Dark
You of course have to talk about Spirits in the
Dark's locations, and what was it like filming there?
I was extremely lucky since many abandoned houses, villages and even
towns are located near the city I live in. Months before shooting began, I
had checked these locations with a smart phone or a handycam in my pocket.
I wanted to make sure I got the right locations. Filming there was like
nothing we have ever done, though I already had the opportunity to spend a
day in this ominous ghost town and shoot some small scenes back in 2015,
but this time we shot 80% of the movie here. It indeed has its power when
one stays here at night to film.
What can you tell us about your overall directorial
approach to your story at hand?
I would say my approach is
pretty unusual in every sense. For example due to its special cinematic
approach, we all have very limited screen time. Despite being credited
first, I have around 13 minutes of screen presence. The protagonist
of the film is not me, but the atmosphere and these wonderful, yet
You also play the lead in Spirits
in the Dark - so what can you tell us about your character, what did
you draw upon to bring him to life, and have you written him with yourself
in mind from the get-go?
It’s funny since the initial
concept featured only two characters namely a man and a ghost, but however
had I tried, I had to realize it wouldn’t work as a feature film. To
make things a bit easier I wrote the script with myself in mind as the
focus was never on my character. Gil is part of a much bigger and
inexplorable picture and he has to find what his actual role in this
mystery really is.
Do talk about the rest of your cast, and
why exactly these people?
The film features my daughter and my wife - Zsófia Gallai and Beáta
Boldog - and filming with them was probably the most heartwarming
experience of my life. Actually, my wife was in her in her ninth month of
pregnancy when she filmed most of her scenes. Regarding the other actors,
I have wanted to work with Ágota Dunai since 2013 and finally we had the
possibility to make a film together. Peter Cosgrove was the first actor
who joined the project. I already knew him earlier and he would have had a
small part in my science fiction project last year, but I chose to direct Spirits
in the Dark instead and asked him if he would be interested in taking
part in this film. Shawn Michael Clankie also has a small cameo – I
worked with him on A
Guidebook to Killing Your Ex and Echoes
in the past two years. His commitment is exceptional and he is someone who
will always have a role in my films if he wants to come.
A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set
As there are only a few characters in this
film, the complete cast and crew was pretty small. In spite of working
with a skeleton crew, we tried out many things – we had an aerial unit,
Károly Pál did a wonderful job with his drones as well as the shoot was
a neverending experiment. I can say we all had a great time and a lot of
laughs. All in all, it was a productive 14 days of filming.
$64-question of course, when and where will Spirits in the Dark be
We complete it very soon and we’ll probably
sell the movie. It is supposed to be released in 2019. Fortunately, people
are interested, so knock on wood. I’m pretty sure it will be available
to people, but I don’t know if it’s going to get a big release or a
smaller one. We’ll see.
Any future projects you'd like to
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Next spring I’ll shoot a found footage feature
titled The Surreal Project, written by Bálint Szántó, a great
friend of mine. I’m looking forward to working on it!
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
The Facebook page
of Spirits in the Dark can be reached here:
for the interview!