Exclusive: Alicia Conway Talks Rite - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Alicia Conway Talks Rite

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RiteDirector Alicia Conway didn’t always love movies. In fact, growing up most of her interests revolved around the worlds of art, photography, and psychology. It wasn’t until later that Conway realized that the medium of film allowed her to incorporate all the things she loved into one art form. From there, she was hooked.

Conway said that, “When I was growing up, I always loved horror fiction and really screwed up stuff like VC Andrews books. I didn’t really get into the horror film genre until I got into film school in Florida. I got my first taste during a horror marathon with Ben (her husband, Ben Rock, is also a film director), and I just fell in love.

There is something about the aesthetics of horror films that I totally appreciate,” added Conway. “I find something about exploring that part of the human psyche very fascinating.

Conway just recently celebrated her first public short film Rite (review here) being accepted into the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and it’s been a twelve-year journey for her to get to this milestone in her life.

I made tons of student short films while in school, but trust me, none of them are worth going back and watching now,” said Conway. “I needed to take my time and feel ready to make a film that had a message I felt people could connect with.

Conway added that, “I’ve been to Sundance a few times already – the first time to support friends who worked on The Blair Witch Project, and other times as a ‘civilian.’ But there is nothing that compares to the feeling of having your own project as part of Sundance.

In fact, Conway didn’t even really think she had made it into the competition. In order to make the deadline, Conway and her team submitted a version that hadn’t been finalized so when she got the call, she thought it was a joke.

When asked about how she heard she made Sundance, Conway said, “I was in a bar and I couldn’t even hear the message, so I first thought I heard that I got into Slamdance, which is still pretty cool. Then I went back and listened to the message again, and I realized that it said I had made it into Sundance. I was completely in shock so I kept making the people I was with listen to the message so I could make sure it was really happening.

Alicia Conway's Rite (click for larger image)It was in 2002 that Conway found inspiration to create Rite based on her experience watching the documentary The 8th Day wherein two Jewish couples were deciding whether or not to circumcise their unborn sons.

Conway explained that, “In the documentary, these two young couples were going back and forth about their decision and you had these family members who were challenging their right to ask questions. I ended up getting into an argument with my roommate at the time who couldn’t understand why I was so angry. It seemed ridiculous to me that people wouldn’t have the right to question such a huge decision. People are so used to being told they have to do different things because they are rituals and traditions, and I just think it’s okay from time to time to stop and think about the impact of such decisions.

Conway took that outrage and went to work the original script for Rite in 2002. When she was ready in 2008 to make her first short film, she went back to her script for Rite and prepped it early in the year for filming.

In Rite a young girl faces a very unsettling ritual (writer’s note: no spoilers here – trust me, you must see it to believe it) which, according to Conway is an allegory that also partially stems from her Roman Catholic upbringing.

I’ve always believed that you should be able to examine certain things in your life, religion being one,” discussed Conway. “The idea that there are things in life you cannot question drives me crazy. Growing up, if you asked questions in school (Conway attended a Catholic school from K-12), you’d always get asked ‘Why are you trying to make things difficult by asking questions?’ I think part of faith is the ability to examine something and come to your own conclusions.

Alicia Conway's Rite (click for larger image)I really think certain rituals end up elevated because we never take a look at exactly why we do these things in our lives, and that applies to anything from marriage rituals to just saying ‘god bless you’ when someone sneezes,” Conway added. “Our society gets swept away in the communal feelings behind so many different rituals and customs so I just hope that my film allows people to get something out of it and maybe can open up a dialogue about traditions.

While Conway knows that in order to have been accepted to Sundance there had to be a level of excellence in her work, she feels that most of what was accomplished with Rite had a lot to do with outside forces working in her favor.

Everyone who worked on Rite was amazing; I couldn’t have asked for a better team,” said Conway. “I was more than lucky to have all these people who just stepped up and made my job so easy. Their work really elevated the quality of Rite.

Conway added that, “I actually think that the story for Rite was always there, and somehow I managed to find it and help it along.

Conway is currently in the planning stages for continuing Rite’s festival run this year. She is also hoping to start developing her first feature film soon after.

You can find out more visiting the official Rite website!

Heather Wixson

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James Cameron’s Terminator Reboot/Sequel Hires Screenwriter

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The last word we brought you guys on producer James Cameron and Deadpool-director Tim Miller’s new Terminator film was when we let you know that Paramount had set the film’s release date for July 26, 2019.

Today we have news via The Wrap that the studio is bringing in screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips) to pen the movie’s script based on a story crafted by Cameron.

You may remember that Cameron and Miller created a writers room a while back to plan out an all-new trilogy of films, but while that writer’s room included David Goyer, Charles Eglee, and Josh Friedman, it seems like Ray will be the first film’s sole writer. For now.

Story details are, of course, being kept under wraps, but Cameron and Miller are treating the new movie as a direct sequel to Cameron’s T2: Judgment Day.

“This is a continuation of the story from ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘Terminator 2.’ And we’re pretending the other films were a bad dream,” Cameron told THR. “Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse.”

We also know that Cameron plans to center the new film/trilogy around a new group of younger characters, who will eventually carry on the baton as it were.

“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” Cameron said. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories. And then a number of other characters around her and characters from the future. We still fold time in the story in intriguing ways. But we have Arnold’s character and Linda’s character to anchor it.”

How excited are you for James Cameron’s new Terminator flick? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below or on social mdeia!

The new Terminator film is produced by James Cameron and will be directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool). The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton.

Terminator 2.5 is expected to hit July 26, 2019.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night Official Site is Live and Waiting

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It was just last week that we shared the all-new trailer and poster for the upcoming sequel to writer-director Bryan Bertino’s home-invasion thriller The Strangers.

If that trailer for The Strangers: Prey at Night wasn’t interactive enough for you then you’re in luck – the film’s official site has just gone live.

The site starts off playing the film’s trailer but you can click that shite off asap and get to the other goodies.

From there the site tells you that “They’re only Strangers until you tell them your name” and then asks you for your name, your email address, and your phone number.

Yeah. Right.

That’s how they get you.

Truthfully, I’m not brave enough to put my info on the site. Not that I’m scared of, you know, a knock at the door late at night or anything… Just… I don’t feel like it is all.

If you are brave enough to give the site your info, make sure to hit us up and let us know how it goes in the comments below or on social media! If you can… Moo-haha.

Visit the site HERE.

The Stranger: Prey at Night is directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) from a script by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai. It stars Martin Henderson, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

The film hits March 9, 2018.

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit THE STRANGERS.

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Exclusive: Patrick Brice on Creep 2

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Patrick Brice blipped onto our radar a couple of years back with his audacious horror film debut, Creep. He directed the film, plus he cowrote and co-starred in it with Mark Duplass (interview) (Baghead, Manson Family Vacation). Creep introduced Aaron, an affable serial killer who lures people to his remote cabin by placing ads promising a fun filmmaking experience… while you could see where the story was going in terms of plot, what made it so striking was the way in which it was written and directed. There’s a massive amount of dread throughout.

Brice is back for Creep 2 (review), and we caught up with him to ask about it.

Dread Central: It must have been hard to try to top Creep. Or did you already have a sequel in mind?

Patrick Brice: It’s funny, but when we made the first movie, we had no idea we would eventually be making a sequel. So we didn’t necessarily set ourselves up for an easy road that way. It ended up being something we had to reverse engineer a bit. And we had actually came up with maybe three or four other ideas for Creep 2 before we landed on the one that we ended up shooting. Including a feature length screenplay that I had written but I shelved because it didn’t feel right. And so, it was a combination of things in that we didn’t want to make a sequel until we knew there was an audience for it. Once we realized the first Creep had caught on in the way it did, that was when the idea of making one did started to come up a little bit. Then it wasn’t until we landed on the idea we landed on, sort of the approach we ended up taking, that things started to feel right and it started to make sense with going forward to making one.

DC: Is you audience mainly horror fans? Because it seems serial killer stories are mainstream now, what with “Hannibal” having been on network TV and now we have “Mindhunter” on Netflix.

PB: I’d say a lot of horror fans, and, I think people with masochistic tendencies as well. I think it’s a pretty dark endeavour for an audience to be brought into with that movie. I think because of the sort of minimalist approach, when you’re watching it, especially when you’re watching it alone, it demands a different kind of attention than a normal movie. Because the Creep is only two characters, if you’re an audience member, you essentially become the third character in the movie, bearing witness to it. So I’m grateful that people are willing to engage with this type of material in that way. I’m also just surprised by it because I think it’s a challenging film on some level. I think it’s a rewarding film. And I think if you’re willing to give in to the conceit of it and willing to take the ride, it is a rewarding experience, but I also completely understand anyone who’s not willing to do that, just because it is such a specific thing. And so going into a sequel, there was a certain amount of confidence that we had associated with a lot of the decisions we were making that would have felt strange and odd with the traditional movie being make in a traditional way, but because we were doing it this way and kind of replicating at least the production style of how we made the first one, we were willing to take that leap a little bit more than we would normally do.

DC: Would you consider dropping the found footage format if you do another Creep movie?

BP: Completely. I think that down the road that would be a nice surprise and a nice way to inject sort of a new form into the story telling. One of the things that’s been fun with Creep 2 and thinking about other Creep movies is giving in to that sort of style completely and letting that be something that informs the character. A huge thing with cracking the second movie was creating the character of Sara that Desiree Akhavan (interview) plays and giving her her own specific needs and motivations for being there, which then hopefully justifies the camera being on. That is the big challenge with found footage movies. It’s something that Jason Blum says that all the time, ‘don’t make a found footage movie unless the story dictates it.’ And so we knew we wanted to do it this way and so it was really delving into character and sort of the more emotional side of things to justify that.

DC: One of the intriguing things about Aaron is that he has no backstory. But it seems eventually audiences demand origin stories and prequels. Will you reveal how Aaron got started someday?

PB: It’s something that’s emerging, having made the second one. We have him tell two long monologues. And it’s detailed, it’s very specific, it makes sense as far as the character goes, but there is still this layer of knowing that this guy is a pathological liar and none of this could be true. And so the hope with that was to have this be a story that convinces Sara, the other character in the film, that it’s true but the audience once again, existing on this other level where they know what this guy’s capable of, they also know he’s a total liar and it may or may not be real.

DC: Do you see yourself ramping up the horror if there are more Creep sequels?

PB: I still think there’s a lot of places to go in terms of the horror aspect of it. I think we only scratched the surface with the second one. I think it made sense we sort of upped the blood and gore with the second movie but also, like you said, kept things pretty much in the space of just uncomfortable tension for eighty minutes. I think that’s something that always going to be our ultimate goal with these movies and that’s sort of the trademark of these movies. What’s nice about knowing that there’s other places things can go whether it be, further into the slasher genre, further into the supernatural, we’ve got some options and we’ve left a lot of doors open in terms of having other avenues to explore.

DC: Any horror stories on the horizon apart from Creep 2?

PB: Yes, actually. I’m going to be directing a few episodes of “Room 104” on HBO and at least two of them are horror based. I’m really excited about that, because I get a chance to delve into more pure classical horror than I’ve been able to do with Creep movies.

Written by Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass with Brice directing, Creep 2 stars Duplass, who reprises his role from the first film, and Desiree Akhavan.

Synopsis:
CREEP 2 stars Desiree Akhavan as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on, she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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