‘Aged’ Writer/Director Anubys Lopez Discusses Horror Tropes and Influences

Aged

A young caregiver shows up at a remote, decaying house to take care of an elderly woman. What could possibly go wrong? Many things… Will Veronica escape the house of horrors before it’s too late or will evil overtake her? This is the premise of Harrow House Films’ latest horror title, Aged.

Written and directed by Anubys Lopez, Aged stars Morgan Boss-Maltais (Netflix’s The Sleepover), Carla Kidd (Lifetime’s #TextMeWhenYouGetHome), and Dave McClain (Maverick Entertainment’s Platinum).  Audiences have seen these horror tropes repeatedly, but Lopez finds a way to show them with an intensity that creates a blanket of eeriness and unpredictability.

In the following Q&A, we spoke to Lopez about Aged, his previous horror film Those Who Call, getting inspiration from A24 films, and much more. 

Aged Director Anubys Lopez

Dread Central: The house in Aged is almost a character in itself, with all its creaky floors and doors. Can you talk a little about the backstory of the house?

Anubys Lopez: Certainly! In Aged, the house is a crucial element in creating a creepy and eerie atmosphere. Its backstory revolves around the rich history and mysterious events that occurred within its walls. The house is an old family home from the 1800s, standing for over two centuries. It was initially built by Mr. Charles and Elizabeth Bloom, a wealthy couple who lived normal lives. However, tragedy struck when their goddaughter, Emily Bloom, contracted tuberculosis and was left to die in the attic. Mrs. Bloom, after defying her family and helping Emily, also contracted tuberculosis and was abandoned in the house to die alone.

As the director, I wanted to highlight the house’s dark history and its impact on the characters. The creaky floors and doors serve as constant reminders of the unsettling past, intensifying the sense of dread and suspense. The house itself becomes like a character, lurking in the background and influencing the events that unfold. If you watch the film, you’ll discover that the house plays a significant role—it’s all about the house.

DC: There are certain tropes in the horror genre. How did you keep these ideas fresh and unexpected in Aged?

AL: In Aged, I aimed to respect the traditional elements of horror while adding new and unexpected aspects to the story. Instead of sticking to a predictable formula, I introduced unexpected twists and turns that surprised the audience. I wanted to challenge their assumptions and keep them guessing throughout the film. Just when they thought they had things figured out, I wanted to surprise them by revealing something completely different.

DC: While you were planning out the film and specific shots, did you watch any other horror films to get inspiration?

AL: Yes absolutely! I found inspiration from a lot of different horror films, most of them from A24. I’m drawn to A24 films because they have a unique way of approaching the horror genre. Some of the movies I watched for inspiration were:

  1. Hereditary: Directed by Ari Aster, this film explores family trauma and supernatural elements in a deeply unsettling way. I was particularly inspired by the film’s use of slow-burning tension, strong performances, and atmospheric cinematography.
  2. The Witch: Directed by Robert Eggers, this film delves into psychological horror and witchcraft. I found inspiration in its meticulous attention to period detail, haunting imagery, and the sense of isolation it creates.
  3. It Comes at Night: Directed by Trey Edward Shults, this film presents a tense and atmospheric exploration of paranoia and survival. I was inspired by its effective use of lighting and sound design to create an oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere.
  4. The Lighthouse: Directed by Robert Eggers, this film is a psychological horror story set in a remote lighthouse. Its unique visual style and mesmerizing performances offered inspiration in terms of creating a distinct and unsettling atmosphere.

Watching these films gave me ideas about how to tell stories in new and interesting ways, create captivating visuals, and build tension and suspense. These insights influenced the direction I took with Aged and allowed me to add my own unique touch to the film and the horror genre in general.

DC: Shooting in the woods can be very complex due to everchanging shadows. What would you say is key to shooting in the woods?

AL: Shooting in the woods indeed presents its own set of challenges and it can definitely be a headache. And if you shoot it wrong, it can mess up the whole atmosphere/ feeling of the film. When it comes to shooting in the woods, here are the things I usually keep in mind. Firstly, thorough location scouting is essential to find areas with a good balance of light and shade, as well as interesting natural elements that can enhance the film’s atmosphere.

Secondly, scheduling your shoot during the optimal time of day for lighting in the woods, such as early morning or late afternoon/early evening, can greatly enhance the visual appeal. Lastly, depending on the scene and desired mood, it may be necessary to introduce additional lighting equipment to control and enhance the lighting in the woods. For some scenes, we used a large artificial light to simulate the sun, which proved to be highly effective.

DC: Can you talk about the film’s lighting? What would you use for the night shoots in the house?

AL: Believe it or not, most of the night shots in the film were shot during the day. We had our gaffer cover up everything and create artificial lighting to simulate moonlight through the windows or to create a dark environment while she slept. We did a lot of day-for-night scenes. The crew was really talented and they pulled off a lot of pretty amazing stuff.  

DC: You had a horror film come out earlier this year titled Those Who Call. Did you learn anything in particular from the making of that film, that you applied to Aged?

AL: Oh man! I learned so much while shooting Those Who Call. It was like my film school. A sink or swim type of situation for me. I learned about storytelling, the importance of character development, and a lot of technical aspects of filmmaking as a whole that I didn’t know about. I think the biggest thing we learned from this was lighting. The lighting is completely different in Aged. We struggled in the woods with Those Who Call. A mistake we didn’t make this time. Same with character development and the script as a whole. Aged is told in a completely different way. 

DC: What about the horror genre attracts you and motivates you to make more movies in this realm?

AL: I love making movies in the horror genre because it allows me to create intense emotions and explore deep human fears. It’s exciting to create scenes that scare and thrill the audience, making them feel suspense and unease. Horror movies can push boundaries and delve into the darker parts of our minds, which sparks creativity. There’s something about making people feel uneasy that sits right with me. I love it.

DC: Are you already working on your next film? If so, can you tell us what it will be about?

AL: Yes, I am! It’s another psychological thriller. We begin shooting next year. I can’t say much about it yet, but this is the synopsis: “In the wake of their mother’s death, two daughters reluctantly return to their childhood home, only to discover that the eerie paintings adorning the walls possess a malevolent intent to claim their lives, while unraveling a chilling secret that has haunted their family for generations”.


Aged is available now on VOD and digital. 

Share: 

Categorized:

Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter