Director of "NAILBITER", segments like "PILLOW FRIGHT" and "DO NOT DISTURB" and his last film until now "ARBOR DEMON"; Patrick Rea has entered into film industry with great force, after shot his first feature film "NAILBITER", Patrick Rea has been busy developing new projects, "ARBOR DEMON" it will be released on April 18th onto DVD and BLU-RAY formats. Apart of that I must to say that Patrick Rea is a terrific person, always willingness to talk and explain whatever you ask to him. I really hope you people like this interview.EFF: First of all thank you Patrick for let me interview you and take time out to answer my questions. I want to ask you about when and how you knew that you wanted to be a film director or to be into film industry at least?
PR: I was very young, maybe 5 years old when I first became interested in film. I grew up in a small-town in Nebraska, and went to the movies a lot. So I knew that I wanted to make them, but didn’t have the capabilities. When I was 17, my high school had a channel that broadcast to anyone who had cable in my town. So I caught the bug, and started making little cheesy videos and broadcasting them.
EFF: I don't like only to speak about the last film of the interviewed, but sure we will, first tell me why even though you've made drama and comedy short films you’ve focused more on horror themes in your feature films?
EFF: Your first film was Nailbiter in 2013, personally a great film with few locations brings more to the audience, you co-written the film along with Kendal Sinn. How did you two work out the story and gave it shape? How long took that process?
PR: Kendal Sinn and I were both living in Kansas at the time, and were really interested in making a horror film that played up the tornadic weather elements so prevalent in the spring and summer. We both decided that we needed to give the creatures in the film a hook that was original, which was to have them connected to the storms.
We also wanted to tell a smaller story that was very cost-effective to film. The premise of having a family trapped in a cellar during a tornado, and then adding the extra threat of the creature was exciting. We took turns writing a draft of the script over the course of a few months. The script was completed in 2007, but the film would not be finished and released till its first festival screening in 2011.
EFF: Now we are going to talk about your last so far film, called "Enclosure or Arbor Demon", this is your fourth film and I would like to ask you, how does the project fell into your hands, you were a co-writer too, how was the process to create the story and then when you had it, pitched it out to investors and give it life?
PR: I have always been an avid camper, so I wanted to make a film set in the forest. But we didn’t want to make something that had been done before. I had a concept I wanted to explore where the films protagonists are stuck in a tent rather than running in every direction in the woods. I also wanted to introduce an antagonist into the tent, and play up the suspense within the confined location to juxtapose with the supernatural threat outside.
Two films I used to compare to “Arbor Demon” (Enclosure) was one of Hitchcock’s more obscure films, “Lifeboat” or the 1989 Phillip Noyce film “Dead Calm”. Michelle Davidson and I spent over a year on the script. One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to make the creatures fresh and interesting. Originally, the film was set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, but once the producers came on board, we changed the setting to the Low Country of South Carolina.
EFF: Nailbiter and Enclosure, treats about something in common, a "container" situation. Why direct and write about this kind of situation? And what is the difference according your criterion between each one?
PR: Well, I do think they both would be considered ‘container’ horror/suspense films. As a director, I’m attracted to the container film because it pushes me to focus on performance. Also, I feel that audiences are uncomfortable watching films where the main characters are trapped in one specific location.
As far as a difference between “Naibiter” and “Arbor Demon”, I think the characters are distinctly different. “Nailbiter” is more of a family in peril film, while “Arbor Demon” deals with themes of marriage, and first time motherhood. The fact that they are both container films really is the only similarity. The settings are also very different. I would say one is almost a haunted house movie, while the other is a camping horror movie.
EFF: I read at an interview you made and I quote it here: "The container" horror film really gets my creative juices flowing" and you gave an explanation, I want you tell me that explanation here.
PR: The big thing about container films is your locked into a location, and you have to keep it compelling. I think some people make the decision to shoot in one location based solely on financial reasons. Personally, I think it can be more challenging since now you have to keep audiences engaged in that location for 75% of the films runtime.
Harry Lipnick, the film’s DP did a fantastic job collaborating to make each scene in the tent have it’s own look and feel. Art direction is so pivotal as well. Leslie Keel, the production designer and I, worked together to figure what the style of tent we would use and what items were needed from sleeping bags, backpacks, to canteens and lanterns.
EFF: And at the same interview you said that is more important focus on the characters and less on the threats, right? But I will say they must have fifty-fifty importance, because just to giving you an example "Alien" if the creators wouldn't had focused on the threat I am sure that film wouldn't been as famous as is now. And in fact, something great on your film alongside a lot of thing is the creature.
PR: We spent a great deal of time fleshing out the characters as well as the creature. I believe that if you build interesting characters, it almost always enhances the threat. You don’t want to see these characters die, because you really care about them. As I said earlier, a Michele and I had to brainstorm to find ways to make the creatures original. Once we cracked an idea of what they would be, I collaborated with Megan Areford, the make-up designer. She started working on the monster prosthetics a good month before production commenced. She and her team did a fantastic job creating something very memorable.
EFF: How hard was finds locations for your film? I mean, I would say only they had to need was a forest or something like that, but I am sure it wasn't like that, what were you looking for in a perfect location?
PR: Well fortunately, we didn’t have that many locations. But, just being able to shoot in the Low Country outside of Charleston, South Carolina, gave us a multitude of choices that had amazing Live Oak trees with Spanish moss. Really it just came down to finding a place that worked out logistically for crew and cast in terms of accessibility and making sure we could get the best sound possible. The tent interior scenes were shot on a soundstage, which allowed us to control all the elements as far as lighting and sound.
Patrick Rea - Behind the scenes
EFF: I must to say something, Sound Design, Cinematography and the Creature Design they three were very great, many scenes had the right combinations of light, background and sound, but definitely I liked a lot The creature Design in fact I always read on reviews "Predator meets the Descent by way of the Hallow".
PR: I’m honored that we are being compared to films like Predator and The Descent. Both of those films are some of my favorites in the genre. I have not seen The Hallow as of yet, but I have heard “Arbor Demon” (Enclosure) compared to it favorably.
EFF: What were those setbacks you must crashed it in making this film, i am sure you faced out some, right? Shot in a tent? Tell us examples?
PR: The film was shot in 12 days, which proved to be very challenging. We also filmed in December, which was actually fairly warm in South Carolina, however the daylight hours are very short. We had a very complicated day of shooting that we had to achieve before the sun was unusable, which was more like 3:30pm in the woods. We ended up having to light a few scenes at night to make them look like daytime to complete the scene.
EFF: "Enclosure - Arbor Demon" was released last year at several festivals, how was the viewers reaction ? The audience is getting in the concept or idea you wanted to give?
PR: The film was released at the festivals under its original title “Enclosure”. We were lucky to premiere at FrightFest in England. It was a great time and the audience responded very positively. I think the big reaction I’m getting is that it’s different from your average ‘set in the woods’ horror film. The audience has also seemed to really appreciate the underlining themes of motherhood and the very female driven spine that runs throughout. The film has since screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival, New York City Horror Film Festival, Razor Reel and will be screening at Fantasporto in Portugal next.
Patrick Rea at ShriekFest
EFF: Any anecdote has happened you during the "Enclosure" shooting?
PR: Haha. Well, bathroom breaks were interesting while shooting in the tent. Jake Busey is six feet tall, and had make-up and bandages on his leg, so I would joke that whenever he had to use the restroom, it would be a 30-minute break for crew. We had to pull the camera, the crew, the other actors and Jake out of the tent. Then to resume, we had to get gear back in the tent, and reset the props and make-up.
EFF: What horror movies you like the most?
PR: Well, not going to lie, the original Friday the 13th is one of my favorites. Mainly because I was told not to watch it as a kid, and I snuck into my room and watched it anyway. Other favorites include: “Poltergeist”, “The Fog,” “Christine”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Halloween”.
PR: I would definitely say that I have been most inspired by the early work of John Carpenter, as well as Steven Spielberg.
EFF: What Camera did you use for this film and why?
PR: We used the Red Epic Dragon. My DP had a lot of experience using the camera and it definitely gave us the look we were trying to achieve.
EFF: What advice would you give for those want-to-be filmmakers who are undecided about how to shoot their first story?
PR: Well, today we have access to cameras everywhere. Movies are being shot on Iphones. So the tools are readily available. What new filmmakers need to focus on first and foremost is a good story. You can film pretty images all day, but if you don’t have something to say, it won’t attract an audience. Also, I advise first time filmmakers to cast good actors, not just your friends and family. Finally, I tell them that they need to find a really strong audio technician to work on the film. Sound will make or break your film, not what kind of camera you shoot on.
EFF: And now if somebody gives you the chance to makes a horror remake, what would you choose and why?
PR: Haha. You know I think about this often. I would have to say either “Children of the Corn” or “Critters”. Being from the Midwest, both these films have always tapped into my small-town sensibilities. “Children of the Corn” has always been a creepy idea since its set in a rural area that can be very isolating. “Critters” is just a fun movie, and I would love to direct a horror comedy someday.
EFF: What's new on you career now?
PR: Michelle Davidson and I are working on a horror film that is a new spin on the imaginary friend story, which I hope to make next. Also, I’m starting to tinker with the idea of making a sequel to “Nailbiter”.