Exclusive Interview: Director Keith Arem Discusses His New Graphic Novel INFEX - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Director Keith Arem Discusses His New Graphic Novel INFEX

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A unique new graphic novel titled INFEX is now available for iPad 2 and is scheduled to launch its next phase this month. The graphic novel blends as many storytelling genres as it does creative mediums to tell the story of Evelyn “Ivy” Kendall in a futuristic world.

Dread Central recently sat down with the creator of INFEX, video game director and producer Keith Arem, to discuss his creative new approach to the graphic novel. Read on to learn more!

AMANDA DYAR: INFEX is a unique concept that is hard to categorize solely as a book, movie, or game. Since this piece of interactive media has never really been utilized before, where in the world did you come up with the idea for both the technology and story of INFEX?

Exclusive Interview: Director Keith Arem Discusses His New Graphic Novel Infex

KEITH AREM: I’ve always been fascinated about the ability of an organism to change its surroundings from within. Similarly, that was the goal of this property – from the foundation of the story to the way it was presented as a product. INFEX was designed to be a true transmedia experience, allowing the audience to experience the story on a variety of mediums. Brandon Humphreys and I created the original story concept, and our initial effort was going to produce my next Contagion album as a conceptual album with music, dialog, and sound design. That quickly evolved into the development of the INFEX graphic novel and viral/ARG campaign, which suddenly had thousands of people following the story online through hidden websites, Facebook pages, Twitter sites, and convention appearances.

When we finally released the limited edition INFEX graphic novel and Origins comic at Comic-Con in 2009, we were restrained by traditional print publishing and distribution methods. Now, in 2012, we chose to develop the INFEX App exclusively for iPad 2 because it offers the viewer the most engaging experience, and the display and sound quality are superb. Because of my background in games, working with actors, writing music, and conceptualizing scenes, I wanted to bring these elements into the novel, without losing the tactile experience of reading a book. With the iPad’ s technology and features, the result was an immersive approach to make each panel of the graphic novel come to life, with all of these elements combined. I was finally able to incorporate my experience in games, music, animation, and film into one product.

AMANDA: INFEX‘s storyline revolves around a woman named Evelyn “Ivy” Kendall–a cancer survivor turned mutant thanks to a special cure delivered by her father. What was your thought process when creating the protagonist for your story, what type of person is Ivy, and how does the character evolve over the course of INFEX‘s phases?

KEITH: Much like the viewer in this book, I wanted Ivy’s experience to be one of discovery as she progresses though the story. Instead of a linear progression of novels (sequels, prequels, etc.), the INFEX world was built using the idea of story “threads” that would intersect at a central point in time. The book instantly opens in the middle of this intersection, throwing the reader into the story without a background or history for the events that lead to this moment.

Ivy’s story is the first “thread” that occurs 15 years after this intersection. Ivy is a strong, sensitive, compassionate person who is trying to complete a legacy left by her father. I wanted Ivy to be an innocent victim of a battle between her father and his rival, and she becomes the key to ending their conflict. Her father, Dr. Leonard Kendall, had created the cure for the world’s diseases but hid the technology inside her to protect it from his company’s sinister intentions. Throughout the book Ivy learns about her father’s tragic struggle and realizes her destiny was part of an elaborate chess game between him and his business partner, Dr. Harlan Griffin. She realizes that she is a pawn in their war, but as she unravels her father’s history, she understands she must evolve to survive and bring an end to the company that murdered him.

AMANDA: In the first phase of INFEX, we find Ivy teaming up with former IngenBio Commander Garret Thorne ironically enough. Can you tell us about Thorne’s character and how his relationship with Ivy will be affected over time? Also, who is the primary antagonist in INFEX?

Exclusive Interview: Director Keith Arem Discusses His New Graphic Novel Infex

KEITH: At the beginning of the story, Garrett Thorne is a former Gulf War soldier, working as the Head of Security for IngenBio Corporation – the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Thorne befriends Ivy and her father, Dr. Leonard Kendall, but soon also becomes a victim of the chess game between Kendall and Griffin. Harlan Griffin is the President of IngenBio, and he uses Thorne’s relationship to manipulate Kendall. When Thorne is eventually sent in to retrieve Kendall’s technology, he becomes responsible for Kendall’s death and given the responsibility of protecting Ivy from Griffin.

Fifteen years later we discover Thorne has been captured and genetically modified by Griffin. When he discovers Ivy has been captured, he escapes and uses his new abilities to guide Ivy and protect her from Griffin. As his name implies, Thorne is a polar opposite of Ivy, both in his abilities and physical attributes. Their combination of unique abilities and opposing strengths make them a powerful rival to Griffin’s army.

AMANDA: The voice acting in INFEX contains an all-star cast of talented actors including Lance Henriksen (Aliens and Terminator), Michael Wincott (The Crow), William Fichtner (The Dark Knight and Date Night), and even video game veterans such as Will Yun Lee (Sleeping Dogs) and Troy Baker (The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite). How did you assemble such an amazing cast for INFEX, and how much has the talent contributed to the success of the project?

KEITH: I have been very fortunate to work with such an amazing group of actors over the past several years. My work in games has fostered amazing relationships with some of the most talented people in the industry, and we love working together. Not only do I have a strong respect for their work and abilities, but I am drawn towards people who love their craft. I love what I do and collaborate best with people who are more excited about a concept and story than just a paycheck. The cast of INFEX has brought the story to life in a way no other book has done before. I wanted the viewer to experience each panel of the graphic novel as if it was a scene from a movie, and their performances deliver this and more. I was extremely impressed with everyone’s contribution, and I can’t wait to do more.

AMANDA: INFEX is definitely an exciting title that we can’t wait to complete. What do you hope the lasting impact of INFEX will be on the entertainment industry, when will the remaining phases of the story be released, and will INFEX ever move to another platform or possibly produce a full fledged spin-off video game or other project?

KEITH: We are submitting Phase 2 with Apple this week and hope to release the successive phases each month through October. Our goal is to develop INFEX into a true transmedia franchise and expand the other story threads in a variety of mediums. I plan to develop a series, game franchise, and film around the INFEX universe and utilize a range of new technologies to tell these stories. My hope is that INFEX will create a new breed of entertainment, allowing graphic novelists, actors, game developers, writers, musicians, artists, and creators to play in a new medium of storytelling.

You can learn more at the rather spooky INFEX website or download the first phase on iTunes.

Exclusive Interview: Director Keith Arem Discusses His New Graphic Novel Infex

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Inside Remake Gets New Poster and U.S. Release Date

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It’s about time.

It has been a whopping four months since we shared with you guys the red band trailer for the upcoming English language remake of Inside starring Rachel Nichols and Laura Harring.

Today we have an all-new poster for the film (via our buddies at Arrow in the Head), and the one-sheet also boasts the remake’s U.S. release date. Yes, Inside will be hitting Stateside on January 12, 2018.

You can click on the poster to the right to check it out in higher-res. After that make sure to hit us up and let us know if you’re planning to check out this remake in the comments below!

Miguel Ángel Vivas directed the Inside remake.

Produced by Adrian Guerra and Nuria Valls at Spain’s Nostromo Pictures, the remake was written by Manu Diez and [REC] creator/co-director Jaume Balaguero. “We took the original idea and made it an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more Hitchcock-ian than a splatter-fest,” said Guerra.

Again, Inside hits U.S. theaters and VOD January 12, 2018.

Synopsis:
Pregnant and depressed, a young widow tries to rebuild her life following the fateful car accident where she lost her husband and partially lost her hearing. Now, about to go into labor, she’s living in a remote house in the suburbs when, one Christmas night, she receives an unexpected visit from another woman with a devastating objective: to rip the child she’s carrying from inside her. But a mother’s fury when it comes to protecting her child should never be underestimated.

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Deep Blue Sea 2 Rated R for Creature Violence/Gore and Language

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Five months ago we shared the news that there was a secret sequel to the 1999 killer sharks vs. Tom Jane and LL Cool J movie Deep Blue Sea filming, and today we have the sequel’s rating.

And it’s about what you’d expect. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Yes, the upcoming shark attack sequel Deep Blue Sea 2 has been rated R by the MPAA for “creature violence and gore and for language.”

Not only that, but we have a few words on what we can expect from the sequel via a creative executive over at Warner Bros. named Matt Bierman.

“We are a true sequel,” Bierman said regarding the sequel. “We wanted to keep to the spirit of Deep Blue Sea and why people love it. The research that was used on the sharks in Deep Blue Sea 2 comes from the mythology and storyline of the first movie. We have given the lead shark a personality and hope the fans will embrace that as it really helps the storytelling and the narrative in a way that [the] first one didn’t. Deep Blue Sea 2 has a slightly slower build, but once the rubber band snaps, things go boom really quickly!”

The lead shark has a personality? How could that be a bad thing?

Let’s just hope there aren’t scenes of the rugged Tom Jane stand-in lovingly hugging/stroking the shark after it does something cool and telling the new guy how the shark (nicknamed Bruce) is just “misunderstood.”

…And then the shark saves everyone at the end. Called it.

The sequel is directed by Darin Scott from a screenplay by Erik Patterson, Hans Rodionoff, and Jessica Scott and stars Danielle Savre, Rob Mayes, and Michael Beach.

The movie is set to premiere on Syfy sometime next year. Once we know the exact date we’ll let us know so stay tuned!

“Deepest. Bluest. My head is like a shark’s fin…”

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Review – A Haunting Mixture of Psychological Turmoil and Brutal Supernatural Horror

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Starring Brittany Anne Woodford, Jenny Curtis, Kanin Guntzelman, Brendan McGowan, Jake White

Directed by James S. Brown

We all like to think of ourselves as being surrounded by friends, but let’s face it, if we were to ever truly hit hard times, there are probably very few, if any, people we could truly rely on. So on some level, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film we can all relate too, as it deals with this very issue.

Stephanie is an emotionally unstable young woman who strangles her boyfriend to death after he insults and breaks up with her. She calls her friends to help her dispose the body out in the Joshua Tree National Part area, and instead of reporting her to the police, they reluctantly comply. As their car breaks down, the four friends find themselves alone at night in the Californian wilderness with the rotting corpse in need of disposal. Given their dire circumstances, they begin to become more and more aggressive towards each other, and this was where the film was really at its best. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how far the limits of their friendship could be stretched, and who would be the first to crack and turn on the others.

Anyway, their body disposal endeavor soon proves to be a mistake, as Stephanie’s ex rises from the grave as vengeful zombie demon thing with claws as long as knives. I’ll admit, I first I thought Friends Don’t Let Friends was going to be a movie purely about the limits of trust, so I was pretty surprised when the supernatural elements came into play. And when they did, the trust and friendship elements of the plot were somewhat downplayed in favor of a more traditional horror approach, and while it was still entertaining, I still would have preferred for the film not to have strayed from its initial path. At least the ending came as a shocker. I won’t go into spoilers, but let’s just say the even the most attentive viewers probably won’t see it coming.

As you can probably guess from a psychologically-driven film of this kind, the performances were top notch, with Brittany Anne Woodford being on particularly top form as the manipulative and unstable Stephanie, a character who revels in the revels in the power she felt when ending another human life.

With its mixture of psychological turmoil and brutal supernatural horror, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film I would certainly recommend, but keep in mind that it may make you think twice when confiding in people who you think of as being your friends.

8 out of 10.

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