By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Independent horror filmmaker Patrick Rea has a new short called JUSTICE SERVED making the festival rounds, and is also planning a follow-up to his 2013 feature NAILBITER. He gave RUE MORGUE some words on those, as well as his most recent movie ARBOR DEMON (a.k.a. ENCLOSURE, pictured).
An award-winner at Shriekfest and other festivals, NAILBITER focuses on a mother and her daughters trapped in a storm cellar during a tornado, where they’re terrorized by a mysterious creature. “I am currently working on several feature projects that I hope to get off the ground soon,” Rea tells us, “and one of these projects is the sequel to NAILBITER. The first film has been getting a lot of play on the Chiller network, so I think the timing is finally right. Tentatively titled NAILBITER: THE STORM CHILDREN, the sequel will be a direct follow-up to the first NAILBITER while also being a standalone film. My hope is to shoot in the late spring/early summer of next year, depending on when we can lock financing.”
In the meantime, he’s got JUSTICE SERVED (pictured below) headed for the Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, OH (October 19-22), having been nominated for three awards at the Austin Revolution Film Festival. The short combines horror with courtroom drama, dealing with a man standing trial for a heinous crime, and stars Elisa James, Davis DeRock, Jason Miller, Jennifer Seward and Tom Sutton. “With JUSTICE SERVED, I want to make a short in the spirit of the original TWILIGHT ZONE,” Rea says. “It deals with the justice system and how it sometimes seems upside down, and was an opportunity to make some social commentary while blending in science fiction and horror.
“I was interested in making something set in a courtroom that was a spin on LAW & ORDER, or even PERRY MASON,” he continues, “and having the audience be a little mystified as to what is happening halfway through. The theme I wanted to touch upon was that sometimes justice seems upside down: The innocent are found guilty and the guilty found innocent. I knew it would come off like a dark comedy in places, so I embraced that. It has been interesting to see the reaction it’s getting; despite having virtually no gore, the film seems to stick with people afterwards.”
In ARBOR DEMON, shot in Charleston, SC and currently streaming on Hulu, married couple Dana (Fiona Dourif of the CHUCKY movies) and Charles (Kevin James) and an injured hunter (Jake Busey) are threatened by a supernatural beast while camping. “With this film,” Rea says, “we wanted to explore the fears that come with becoming a first-time parent. Dana is keeping her pregnancy a secret from Charles, who’s a musician and doesn’t want children, thus creating tension between them. I found that when writing the script with Michelle Davidson, some of my own anxieties were seeping into the story. I was on the cusp of becoming a first-time father, and the script was a bit cathartic. The movie is also very much a creature feature [with a monster created by Megan Areford], but I wanted it to have deeper meaning. Without giving away too much, the themes of the story are very female-driven.
“After seeing CURSE OF CHUCKY, I knew that Fiona would be perfect for the part of Dana,” he adds. “She brought an edge to the role that I wasn’t anticipating. I was impressed by how Fiona dove headfirst into the role and brought out layers I didn’t expect. It was a very tight 12-day shooting schedule, so to work with an actress who was so prepared and devoted to the character was amazing.”