‘Oddity’ Director and Stars Talk Making The Scariest Movie of 2024


Damian Mc Carthy terrified audiences with his 2020 feature film debut Caveat, featuring a strange rabbit and one of the most unsettling jumpscares of recent memory. This year, Mc Carthy is back with his new vision of terror, Oddity, a ghostly murder mystery about a blind medium searching for the truth about her twin’s death.

In Oddity, “A blind medium uncovers the truth behind her sister’s death with the help of a frightening wooden mannequin.”

We spoke with Mc Carthy and Oddity stars Carolyn Bracken and Gwilym Lee about making the scariest movie of 2024, that terrifying wooden man, and more.

Dread Central: What was the vibe like in the audience? I watched Oddity, with noise-canceling headphones in the dark and almost peed my pants. So what was it like watching it in a theater with a bunch of people?

Gwilym Lee: There were a few wet seats, I think probably.

DC: Hell yeah.

Damian Mc Carthy: We were really excited, I think leading up to it, not having seen Oddity with an audience and they responded in all the right places and in some places that we didn’t expect as well. They kind of recognized some humor that maybe we weren’t aware was necessarily there. It was a good night. It was really fun.

DC: Hell yeah. Well, Damian, I love this film. I’ve tweeted that this is already probably one of the scariest movies of the year. I’ve read your director’s statement about your fear of the dark growing up and everything, but I’d love to hear more about how you formed the story about a medium and murder with Oddity.

DM: Yeah, I think it’s just taking a lifelong love of horror films and then all the subgenres in that horror film. Your slasher and your ghost story and your psychological thriller and just trying to mix it all together and see if you can get away with it. And luckily it did work because you never know. But I will say it was definitely written with love because I do love all those subgenres, so it was never like, “Okay, I’m just trying to tick boxes and make sure I’m getting everything in there.” It’s only now that it’s all finished and people have seen it that you start to see it [all come together]. It’s even a little bit of a monster movie at the end.

DC: Yeah, absolutely. And so obviously a lot of people are talking about the wooden man. Was that based on existing folklore or something out of just your own brain or was it a mix of both?

DM: I guess maybe the golem would probably be the closest thing, but no, nothing in particular. I don’t have anything in Irish folklore about murderers roaming the countryside. No, it’s just that idea of an object coming, all your classics like Talking Tina in The Twilight Zone and Chucky.

DC: So how did you come up with the design of the man, particularly the anguished facial expression that he holds the whole time? What was the design process and thought process around what he looks like?

DM: I like to draw myself. I’m not very good at it, but I storyboard and stuff. Even the way he was described in the script was just that he was screaming. The only reason for that was to cover myself in sound design. Once you get to sound design, if he’s doing something, it allows you to just leave yourself open for those ideas afterward. But really it was sitting down with the designer, Paul McDonald, and watching him come up with these ideas. Paul has so much experience. He’s built huge structures before and they’re basically creatures made of timber, ivy, and twisted bark. So he was able to take that idea and put a horror spin on it with this thing.

DC: So Carolyn and Gwilym, what was your experience interacting with that thing? I know it’s a prop, but it’s got to have at least some presence when you’re interacting with it. Carolyn, I want to start with you since you interacted with him the most.

Carolyn Bracken: Yeah, I suppose the character of Darcy is so connected to Woody McWood Face that I felt kind of a warmth that was always happy to see him there. You know what I mean? A lot of the time, from my memory, he was propped at the end of the table in that pose. And when you think about if there’s dozens of crew on set, everybody’s just getting on with it and [working] around him. He became part of the furniture by the end. But initially, it was very unsettling, particularly that eternal scream. He feels different than what you think he’s going to feel like.

DC: And then Gwilym, what about you?

GL: He was omnipresent. He was just always there and kind of a witness to daily lives, really watching silently observing.

DC: Carolyn, I love your performance, you’re Darcy and Dani, but I love Darcy especially. She’s this medium character we’ve seen before but has something uncanny about her. I wanted to hear more from you about how you got into Darcy’s head for this role and what that was like for you to shape her character without having a ton of backstory, but with lots of clues about who she is and what she’s been through.

CB: Yeah, I think initially Darcy and Danni were there in the script, you know what I mean? And Darcy was clearly very different from Danni. I’ve said it a few times now in terms of prepping for Darcy in particular, there was a part of me that was a little bit concerned [about playing both characters]. I think her heart, but also her ethical ambiguity, it was about trying to balance all of those things together.

But I found that, to be honest with you, the costume design, the hair, the makeup, the script, working with Damian each day, throughout each scene quite thoroughly. I’ve said a few times that it made my job very easy to find her once I found her, once that costume was on, once the hair and the makeup were done. Yeah, she just kind of found me, I think, which sounds a little bit, can I say wanky? But yeah, I think throughout that process then she actually kind of found me a bit.

DC: Well, and also because she is blind, what was that like for you to make sure that you always seem like you are blind rather than a seeing actor playing a blind person? Is that a challenge for you in trying to maintain that headspace and not being able to move the way you might typically move as an actor?

CB: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. I wanted to make sure to just get it right. Just Darcy’s backstory as well. She wasn’t always blind, do you know what I mean? So she leading the world with that perspective as well. It was just about doing the homework and trying to understand that a bit more. I did have contacts which helped, but it was just taken day by day. And then there are differences in terms of how she moves in her antique shop. She’s very comfortable in there. She knows the geography and she’s kind of guided by the wooden man as well in a lot of the scenes in the house. So yeah, it was just about taking it scene by scene in terms of navigating and just trying to do it carefully, sensitively, and as best I could.

DC: You mentioned the costume design. The costume design definitely feels Lorraine Warren-inspired. The costume design is so perfect for what you think of a medium, and I love how Damien, I’m assuming you had that on the page and worked with the costume designer to create the look of Darcy, which I just feel was so perfect, especially like you said in your director’s statement, making this film feel kind of out of time and place. Darcy does feel out of time and place, especially in the house.

DM: Yeah, it did work. I think it was that trying to have that timeless feel to the film. I was saying before that I tried my best to write cell phones out of the script. It’s really the only piece of technology in there because even in Darcy’s apartment, she’s using an old answering machine and things like that. Our brilliant production designer, Lauren, I think Lauren was only 22 or something. We said, “Lauren, we need to get an answering machine.” She was like, “What’s an answering machine?” I was like, “How young are you?” But she’s brilliant. For somebody so young, she created this world that does feel quite antique.

DC: My last question, Damien, for you, would you ever make prequels about Darcy’s experiences as a medium in the past?

DM: It’s funny. I have thought about it because there’s not much we really touch on with her.

DC: Yeah. All I see is the Caveat rabbit and a wall full of weird haunted objects or what I assume are haunted objects. And I was like, “I want to know everything she did to get every single object in this room.”

DM: Some of that stuff right is from short films I’ve made. I mean the characters are still there and Darcy] is such an interesting character anyway. She’s got stories. So yeah, it’s interesting.

DC: With the Caveat rabbit, was that just a fun Easter egg or are you establishing that all of these movies might be taking place in the same world?

DM: Unfortunately, it’s not the same rabbit. I guess it’s that same kind of feel to it. I just like weathered old props, but I think it is just an aesthetic. A lot of that, even the rabbit in Caveat, a lot of that was inspired by the old Jim Henson film Dream Child from the 1980s. There’s the Mad Hatter party and I mean, the rabbit in that is terrifying. It’s a movie. So yeah, I think I always felt that if I could design props, any prop I think I’ll ever design, that’ll always be somewhere in the references, even if it’s not a rabbit.



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