FrightFest 2017: Venture into London’s Underground With This Exclusive Short Film Crypt

Tonight marks the end of Horror Channel’s FrightFest 2017 but we’re not going to let it go to rest for another year just yet! Last night, Eitan Arrusi’s short film Crypt made its UK premiere (ahead of the UK premiere of the Korean thriller The Villainess) and now we’re here to help bring it to the world via an exclusive online reveal!

The short follows a salvage rescue team who go into the bowels of the London subway system after a series of catastrophic events point them in that direction. What they find lurking below the surface is a nightmare that is about to unleash itself upon the world above.

Below is the full teaser along with an interview with Arrusi that goes into the concept of the film, its future, and what’s next!

Dread Central: Can you tell me about the inspirations that helped create Crypt?

Eitan Arrusi: I’ve always been fascinated by the world under London. It struck me as an amazing location to set a film. Millions of people walk over it everyday, but few have any idea of the hidden depths right under their feet.

There’s over a thousand miles of tunnels and underground rivers and the more I explored it, the more it struck me that I could visually imagine it like an amazing spaceship. It’s an environment that moves effortlessly from the claustrophobic to the epic.

It’s so amazingly rich in history and mystery. It inspired me to start thinking of stories to set down there. I naturally thought of Nigel Kneale. I’ve always been a big fan of his work and “Quatermass and the Pitt” is such a cool movie. I also love muscular action films and “Pitch Black” always impressed me as a wonderfully crafted blend of character, action and creatures.

I knew that anybody reading the script would ask, what will this look like and why should we let you make it?

I’d become fascinated with some Proof of Concept films I’d seen online. Several struck me as really exciting, like Neil Blomkamp’s work in the “Halo” shorts and “Alive in Joburg” and the Fede Alvarez short “Panic Attack”. They inspired me to develop my own proof of concept for “Crypt”, both as a way of directing something thrilling and to help people get a sense of my vision for the film.

DC: Crypt feels like it wants to not only be a feature-length film but also the beginning of an umbrella of story-driven narratives, like comics, video games, etc… If you could take it in any direction, where do you think the story would find the most fascinating way forward?
EA: Thanks for saying that. It’s exciting that you can see all that potential in the idea.

First of all there’s the feature film. I’ve been working on a script, which is nearly there. I can’t say too much about it, but it builds on many of the elements in the teaser.

I’ve also been developing the idea for a television series and think I’ve got a cool take on it. It would be more futuristic but still keep the gritty feel I wanted to achieve in the teaser.

I’m a huge comic book fan, as well as playing more than my fair share of computer games. I actually created one of the first “interactive movies” called Burn:Cycle for Philips long dead format CD-I. It started my love affair with computer graphics and visual technology.

It would be great to develop the idea for a technology like VR, I think there’s a lot of buzz but not much killer content for that yet. Reminds me a lot of where the tech was when I worked on Burn:Cyle.

DC: Let’s talk a bit about the technical aspects of the short. What did it take to put this production together? What were some of the challenges you had to face?
EA: The first challenge was how to shoot the film quickly and efficiently. My producer, Michael Elliott of Emu films, found a wonderful location in London which was a series of five huge tunnels all in a row. We were able to build and pre-light each of the tunnels for a different location in the teaser and that allowed us to shoot the whole thing in two days.

I knew going into the short that I wanted to get very hands on with the VFX. I saw the way technology had evolved and made shooting and post-production on films much cheaper while maintaining the quality and I wanted to find a way to do that for VFX as well.

I approached a good friend of mine, Alexis Hagger of Lexhag, who had worked on my debut feature and suggested we set up a VFX pipeline, outsourcing elements of the VFX to another country and then finishing the final elements in London at Lexhag with me in the room supervising the shots directly.

We found a partner in India, called 5E Digital, they agreed to send us the software for each shot so that Lexhag could open the files and continue working on them with me.

It was really exciting to deal with this technical challenge. Figuring out which elements from a shot could be sent abroad and which needed to be done over here, with me squeezing the best out of them creatively. Having been through the process of making the teaser I know what the pitfalls are for making the film and how to get even better VFX in the feature.

DC: What’s next for you?
EA: I’ve taken a break from working on screenplay assignments to focus on getting Crypt made. I’m thrilled that people will get a chance to see the teaser, but it really is a draft for the final film. I’m looking forward to upping my game for the feature and being able to tell a great story in this genre – I can’t wait to work on new, more vicious creatures.

I also have a low budget thriller written by a friend of mine, David Gillhooly, who’s been writing the screenplay of “Crypt” with me. It’s got a working title of “Grant Me Serenity” and is something that can be made on a tight budget. I’m prepping that now and depending on what happens with Crypt, I aim to direct that very soon.

I’m really thrilled that all the Dread Central fans will get to see “Crypt”. It’s your support that will push us forward with the feature. Thanks for all the great questions, it was a blast answering them.

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Jonathan Barkan

Lifelong horror fan with a love of music on the side.

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