In our ongoing investigation into the After Dark Originals line-up, we were lucky enough to chat with Prowl director Patrik Syversen. The gent had quite a bit to say about the flick, which pits a truckload of young ‘uns against a warehouse full of blood-drinkers!
Chris Haberman: What attracted you to the project?
Patrik Syversen: I got the script and responded to the fact that it had a strong central character with a very specific conflict. In result, the horror elements are sort of a catalyst for the main character’s arc. It’s also a very intense survival horror with themes I could relate to, and that is the most important part. It has to be a story I feel worth telling, a story that means something to me personally. And I found that in Tim Tori’s script. In addition, I’ve always wanted to do a creature film, and this project kind of had it all; it takes the characters seriously, yet is intense and very in your face.
CH: Are these blood-lovers vampires? If so, did you take any inspiration from any particular vampire films?
PS: Although we never say the word ‘vampire,’ I see them as some sort of vampire-esque creatures. In the script they were described as different creatures, more bird-like, but we decided to keep it a bit more grounded. That meant stripping it down to the bare essentials; our antagonists are definitely attacking and drinking blood from people, so essentially fangs and claws were all we needed to convey that. I never looked to any vampire films for inspiration, as we kind of set out to do something different. I approached it more like a survival horror where the antagonists happened to be creatures, not a creature movie that happened to be in the survival camp. If you get my drift.
CH: The film also sounds like it may be horror-action. Is this accurate?
PS: It’s intense and action packed, but it definitely leans toward horror. The pace of the second and third act is pretty high, as all of the action takes place during one night, and that forces you to keep people on their toes and make sure the audience is hooked. The biggest challenge is always to make the film relatable and make sure people are engaged in the characters and their destinies. So in the end it was all about balancing the horror with the characters and the story, making sure all elements blend seamlessly. Hopefully we’ve pulled that off.
CH: Are the creature FX practical, CGI, or a combo?
PS: The creature FX are all practical. The only CG we did was some wire removal and enhancing a couple of shots, but we kept most of it practical. I really feel that helped the look of the film. It was never about shoving these creatures in your face. Keeping them in the shadows and using them to max effect once they’re on screen was definitely the best way to go for this story.
CH: Where did the shoot take place, and how did it go? Any fun set stories?
PS: The shoot took place in Bulgaria with a very international cast and crew. I’m Norwegian and so is my DP. And we had a US and UK cast, Bulgarian crew, and international producers so it was definitely a very cool experience. We shot the film quickly, in 19 days, so that meant we just had to go for it. It also means you really have to know exactly what you want and how you want to tell your story. We shot most of the film in an amazing abandoned steel factory, and I got to do some pretty crazy things I’d never done before. Like blowing up an entire building. That was pretty awesome. Also, working on a film like this, where emotions are front and center, it was very draining at times. Each day had a new challenge, but somehow we pulled it off.
Check out the After Dark Originals website for more!
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