Filmmaker Q&A Patrick Rea

by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"

Comment

DCP:
For those who aren't aware, can you tell our readers what Arbor Demon is about, how did you come up with the story and what the story means to you as the co-writer/director of the film?

 

PR:
The film is a claustrophobic supernatural thriller about a married couple who go camping to reconnect.  One night they are camped near a group of hunters that are attacked by something from the woods.  During the ambush, the couple is able to pull one of the injured hunters into their tent.  For some unexplained reason, the creature will not approach the tent.  Soon, tensions build between the injured hunter and the couple as they try to figure out a plan of escape.

 

The idea of the film came from a camping trip my wife and I took years ago.  We were asleep and in the middle of the night a group of campers got into a big altercation with each other.  One angry camper got on his four-wheeler with a deer skull on the front, and drove around our tent.  We were pretty freaked out and to cut the tension, I made a joke that it would be funny if a bear or something like it attacked their campsite, so we could get some sleep. Haha. 

 

Years later, Michelle Davidson and I started writing and around this time my wife was pregnant.  So a lot of the anxiety that comes with becoming a new father or mother seeped into the story.  We focused on telling a story that had a very strong female character dealing with real life problems.  She is facing motherhood for the first time, and we really wanted that character element to connect with the overall arc of the story.

 

DCP:
What was your biggest challenge during the making of the picture?

 

PR:
The film was shot in brisk 12 days, which was a big challenge.  Luckily we had spent a great deal of time prepping the film, so that we could be ready for any curve balls during the tight schedule.  We were shooting daytime exteriors in December, which proved to be challenging since the sun would go down around 4:30pm.  Because we were in the woods, the sun actually became unusable more around 3:30, so we had to really hustle to get the shots needed.  One day of production, we had to light the forest at night to make it look like daytime.

 

 

DCP:
How did you pull your cast together including the likes of Mr. Jake Busey, and what was it like working with him?

 

PR:
We casted the film between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which was very challenging since a lot of the industry is on holiday.  Kevin Ryan was the first cast based off an awesome audition.  We then reached out to Fiona Dourif and Jake Busey who both responded positively to the script and came on board. 

 

The cast was under a lot of pressure since we had such a short schedule, but they delivered great performances.  We were able to rehearse a day prior to principal photography and really work out any issues with the dialogue, that way were ready to go on day one.  All the actors had a great deal of dialogue to memorize, but Jake had the most.  He at one point had to deliver almost 11 pages of dialogue in one day and did a wonderful job. 

 

 

DCP:
What was the most memorable moment during the production?

 

PR:
That’s a tough question.  Production moved very swiftly.  I do think that any of the days we did creature effects were very memorable.  Megan Areford who was the make-up artist did a fantastic job.  She had a terrific team working with her.  It was just very cool to see a creature concept that we had created brought to life by amazingly talented people. 

 

 

DCP:
Do you think there's a possibility for a sequel to this movie? Or do you think of it a stand-alone film?

 

PR:
I do think that “Arbor Demon” is a stand-alone film.  I haven’t contemplated a sequel at all.  I do plan on someday getting the sequel to my last film “Nailbiter” off the ground.  Right now I’ve been attracted to making stand alone films and the one I’m currently moving forward on is a unique take on the imaginary friend horror film. 

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