Your new movie Red Room
- in a few words, what is it about?
it is the modern day take on the snuff film.
is based on the
urban legend of the same name, where people online bid to see people
getting killed, sort of like eBay for murder.
With Red Room
revolving around the deep web and snuff movies, did you do any extensive
research into these subjects?
did go on the deep web looking to see if they exist. I couldn't find any
evidence but I did come across some pretty horrific images and video, real or not they were very disturbing. I did that for about two months
before I got enough information from forums (full of complete psychopaths) and made the rest up myself.
also saw plenty of 'snuff' films when I was younger. The Faces of Death-series (that monkey getting killed still turns my stomach) and of course
Snuff, which probably has the most racist tag line ever -
film that could only be made in South America... where
is CHEAP!' I
don't think you'd get away with that today. That film was awful except for
the end scene. But it clearly was not a snuff film.
(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Red
and co writer Erica Keegan did quite the opposite sourcing information
during writing. We tried to do the opposite of what other horror films
did. Of course it will be compared Hostel and
Saw. But we really tried our
best not to re-hash other gore/survival films. Within a tight budget. It
What can you tell us about your co-writer Erica Keegan, and what
was your collaboration like?
wrote the first draft in about three days, just to get the bare bones
story down on paper. I then asked Erica to help me write a final draft as
the the characters with most screen time were female. Erica also
introduced the character of 'Mam', who is arguably the most depraved
character in the film. We
wrote the script very quick. I think it was seven days altogether. We had
to tone down the violence due to budget restraints. The one that killed me
the most to cut was a murder involving an X-ray machine. I think that
would have got a great reaction.
got on great and agreed with each other on almost every aspect of the
script, which I guess is rare.
For all the gorehounds
among our readers, you of course have to talk about the bloody bits in Red
Room for a bit, and how were they achieved? And was there ever a
line you refused to cross regarding violence?
all the special effects were practicable. There were some scenes we had to
use CGI for, which I won't say as it would spoil the ending. But that the
was the plan from the very beginning, to have old school special effects. They
were easily achieved by very brave actors willing to have special effects
used on them by our brilliant SFX artist Debbie McKibbin. One actress
almost broke her nose, another had a bit of freak out being blinded with
prosthetics. Everybody was fine within a few minutes though. And one of
the murder victims had sheep's guts used on her, she was vegan. So I'm
very grateful to have such a cool cast and crew.
crossing the line, I wanted the film to be entertaining. I did not want it
to be like A Serbian Film. I wouldn't show animals or children being
line we decided not to cross was rape. This came up multiple times in
research. I believe the use of rape in film has to be handled very
carefully and I did not feel it would have suited the rest of the film if
there were scenes of that nature included. We chose to to put the
sexual element into the characters who are watching the murders.
you tell us about Red Room's
approach to horror, and is that a genre you're at all fond of?
approach to Red Room
was to stick to the urban legend. That was it. At the
time of writing it, there was no other film that covered that subject. We
just knew it had to be gory survival horror. Like I mentioned
above, we just tried our best not to copy other films. We
also decided that it wasn't going to balls to the wall gore start to
finish. We definitely thought the gore scenes would be more shocking if
they were infrequent. The scene that gets me the most is the finger nails,
that's only a few seconds long but its in your face and happens suddenly.
am a huge horror fan. I could fill this whole interview with my favourite
horror films. I love French horror; Martyrs, High
Tension, Inside, Irreversible; I think they're all brilliant. A few others
I love are The Burning (the raft scene is still amazing), Kill
Evil Dead, Devil's Rejects and more recently The Devil's
Candy. As I said
I could go on, so yes, I am a huge genre fan.
least for me, Red Room
also had its traces of (dark) humour - would you at all agree, and if so,
I think only real horror fans will get the humour in it. Most of the
humour was scripted, some of the off the cuff remarks were improvised and
we kept them in. In
my mind Red Room
is grindhouse film. If you're a horror fan you'll get
exactly where we were coming from. If you're not a horror fan it will
offend you. So it was a win win. We knew where to put the humour . The
film as a whole, as you mentioned in your review, is a social commentary
on human behaviour today. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a
little laugh here and there on the way.
is my third feature, and dark humour always finds it way into the script.
I am huge fan of Bill Hicks, Robin Williams, Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle,
Ricky Gervais and loads more so it must be just implanted in brain at this
What can you tell us about your
overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
approach was to just show everything. Don't let the camera flinch. We had
the script, everyone knew at rehearsals I wasn't holding back on anything.
There's no point in making a gore film without showing the gore. I
also wanted to concentrate on the acting which was fairly easy because we
got a great cast. I also pushed the actors to speak very clearly. My
previous two features I had complaints from American and Canadian
audiences that they could not understand the Irish accent.
talk about your key cast, and why exactly these people?
had worked with the majority of the cast before. Others with minor roles,
I saw them in some films and got in touch with them. The only big casting
we did was for the character of Lily. We held auditions for that character
and Sohaila Lindheim blew everyone everyone away. She was perfect. We told
her she was cast while she was on her way home.
is a bit of a funny film regarding key cast. They basically all are
key except for the extras. I
can say I'm happy with all their performances, especially with the tight
schedule, and I wouldn't change them for anyone else. They
all gave 100% and were really involved in their characters which I think
makes the film stand out a bit from the normal run-of-the-mill gore film.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
on set atmosphere was horrible! We had 7 days to shoot the main house
scenes. This was cut down to 5 and a half days after we realized the
camera malfunctioned. This meant, because we had no more money, we had
reshoot the one and a half days worth of scenes and get the rest
completed. Staying in the house any longer wasn't an option. We
were tired, hungry and sleep-deprived in the middle of a heat wave. And to
top it all off we had to shorten/omit some scenes while trying to figure
out if the film would still make sense. It was not nice. We
all managed not kill each other though and got through it. We had some
scenes outside the main house all went smoothly. They were shot months
later due to weather changes. We shot for 14 days in total. 2 of those
days we ended up cutting from the film because it did not work. We
included it on the DVD.
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Red
seen one bad review, absolutely slated it, from somebody who can't
spell so I disregarded that, haha.
rest of the reviews I've read, I can't argue with anything they said, some
people say the ending is rushed, others say it's a great twist. It's just
opinion at the end of the day. Nobody mentioned the dark humour until
yourself. But mostly positive overall.
audience reaction was great during a film festival. We got a few walk-outs
for the right reasons. People got a great jump scare, we recorded that;
that's also going on the DVD.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
have about 20 projects in my head and cannot choose what to do next. For
now I'm just going to sit back and see what the general reaction to Red Room
is and decide from there.
got you into filmmaking to begin with, and did you receive any formal
training on the subject?
got the Pulp Fiction script in 1997. Which would have made me nine or ten.
I watched the film dozens of times and then read the script. The format
just stuck with me. I used to secretly write from about that age till I
was 25. I was too embarrassed to show anyone anything. I
then went to study film in college. I had a fantastic screenwriting tutor,
Sarah Ann Murphy, who was honest and blunt. If I wrote something that was
shit she would say it, no holding back. This made me take criticism a lot
easier. Besides that, she gave great advice on how to think outside the
box and she helped a lot with dialogue. And she showed Snowtown in her
class. Easy to know why she was my favourite tutor!
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to Red Room?
the third year of college I decided to drop out. I took a risk and just
made a feature for no budget, Bully. It paid off. It got mostly good
reviews and won a couple of awards. I then made another feature, Class
that was made for exactly 300 Euro. That won a couple of awards too. I
used them films to get an investor/producer for Red Room, and it worked.
might not have had the biggest budget but it was a lot more than
300 Euro. I
also made numerous shorts.
would you describe yourself as a director?
still can't believe I'm a director. I always wanted to be from a young age
so it's still crazy seeing my name on a cinema screen. Critics have said
my films are raw and controversial, but I don't agree with that. I just
show things how I see them, I don't see anything controversial about
showing the truth and I will never hold back from that.
who inspire you?
Kubrick. Greatest director of all time.
Fincher. Has to be related to Kubrick somehow.
Noe. That man is insane, in a good way.
Winding Refn. I think he's a more clinical Noe, but I love his films.
Meadows. English director who makes great drama.
director I am keeping an eye on is Mike Cahill. He hasn't made a feature
since I Origins and that is one my favourite indie films.
Your favourite movies?
Clockwork Orange, Kill
(Larry Clark), Goodfellas, Casino, I Origins, Zodiac, Enter
The Void, Drive, Reservoir
Man's Shoes, American
History X, Funny
Games (both), Natural
Born Killers, To
Live and Die in LA, The
Haunting (original), Kidnapped
could go on!
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter,
Twilight. All of them...
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
is out March 19th on DVD/VOD and can be ordered here:
for the interview!