By MICHAEL GINGOLD
The first release from Epic Pictures’ Dread Central Presents line, VILLMARK ASYLUM (a.k.a. VILLMARK 2), just hit Amazon Prime, and we’ve got some exclusive words from one of the people behind the film, along with the poster and trailer.
RUE MORGUE spoke with Epic’s Patrick Ewald about VILLMARK ASYLUM, a follow-up to the very successful 2003 Norwegian chiller VILLMARK (a.k.a. DARK WOODS). The project came to Epic via their involvement in another Norway genre film, Aleksander Nordaas’ THALE. “The producer of THALE, Bendik Strønstad, brought us VILLMARK ASYLUM, and we put some investment into it,” Ewald tells us. “It’s about this hazardous-waste cleanup team who come to this asylum in the woods, and they discover that there is a group of people living inside who are not very happy that the crew are there! There’s a whole creepy history going on behind the scenes, and one by one, they are taken out.”
Original VILLMARK director Pål Øie returned for ASYLUM and scripted it with Kjersti Rasmussen; producer Einar Loftesens also encored, and the cast is headed by Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Baard Owe, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Renate Reinsve and Tomas Norström. “In terms of the sensibility, it’s sort of like [REC], but it’s not found-footage,” Ewald notes. “It was shot on beautiful locations in the Norwegian woods, and it doesn’t have a low-budget feel to it. They spent the money for the location and the cameras and all those things, so it’s a great-looking movie.
“We were involved in the script phase of the project,” Ewald continues, “but not so much with the actual production itself. This movie was done, obviously, with an eye toward the Norwegian market, and they know that market best. We advised them in terms of making the pacing a little bit quicker for the international audience, and less of a slow burn, but in terms of the day-to-day production, we were very much hands-off.”