With Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, long-time TV writer/producer/director Declan O’Brien is making his jump into helming feature films.
“I got my start in the film industry working as an assistant for Bryan Gibson on several of his films,” said O’Brien. “I gained a better understanding of film production from working with him. One day I realized that everyone else was having all the fun so I decided to take the leap into making my own projects.”
For a few years, O’Brien concentrated on creating various TV projects but soon realized he was ready for his shot at making films. Then, 20th Century Fox offered him the chance to step into a horror franchise and direct Wrong Turn 3 for them.
O’Brien said, “Working on Wrong Turn 3 was a lot of fun but I realize that I have a lot to live up to because of Joe’s (Lynch) work on part two. Sometimes horror fans can be unforgiving so I just wanted to make sure I created a film that the fans would enjoy and take the series to a different level.”
According to O’Brien, the first two movies were essentially about beautiful people who were helpless against cannibalistic hillbillies so he wanted to take the story to what he calls “the logical next step” – creating a knock-down fight between the cannibals and those who show up to hunt them down.
“My goal was to get an epic ‘Battle Royale’ on screen,” said O’Brien. In terms of what horror fans can expect for Wrong Turn 3, the one thing O’Brien would reveal is that Three Finger is back again since he’s everyone’s favorite villain.
O’Brien had no issues with getting the Eastern European country of Bulgaria act as a convincing substitute for the state of West Virginia.
“Bulgaria is a beautiful place and their countryside definitely was perfect for the rural setting we needed,” O’Brien tells Dread. “There is one river sequence in Wrong Turn 3 that is so breathtaking to watch. It’s one of my favorite shots of the entire movie.”
For Wrong Turn 3, the movie takes place in ‘real time,’ which presented some unique challenges for the first-time feature director and his crew.
According to O’Brien, “Because of wanting that real time aspect though, we had a brutal shoot. Most of the film takes place at night and there is a very limited amount of darkness when shooting in the summertime in Bulgaria so we had to be precise with our shooting schedule.”
Even though he has now worked with cannibals on Wrong Turn 3, it’s not really monsters or creatures that scares O’Brien- what gets under his skin is the average people around him.
“What scares me now is the banality of evil and I want to explore that idea in my future films,” says O’Brien. “There is this ‘normal’ veneer that lurks in suburbia so I tend to find something like an average next-door neighbor really frightening because you never know what goes on behind their closed doors.”
O’Brien’s plans include working on the reinterpretation of Roger Corman’s The Little Shop of Horrors.
O’Brien said, “I want to take the story to a darker place than the previous versions took it. I mean, if someone is going to do this story again, why do it in the style that was already successfully achieved? I hope to take the story to a completely different level and explore the dark themes beyond the musical everyone already is familiar with.”
After The Little Shop of Horrors, O’Brien is looking to continue working within the horror genre.
“I want to work on some intellectual horror projects soon. As a filmmaker, the idea of toying with the id of someone’s brain is really exciting,” We do too.
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