You’ve made a wide variety of films from big-budget to smaller-budget. Was approaching this, a classic down-and-dirty slasher, easier, more fun, and sort of scrappy? Or was it just as challenging, especially since you had only a year to make this?
It was very tough. I mean, look, this is the kind of movie where I only could have made [it] having made all my others, because it was low-budget. The schedule was really tight. We shot the whole thing in 35 days, so we had to fully nail it. We had to really, really nail it on the day, and every single day was a challenge, and we had an amazing time doing it. But every movie is tough in its own way, and this one was certainly no exception, but it’s the kind of film I could have only made after I made all the others.
You have a great cast in this movie, a really cool ensemble, and when you’re casting a slasher like this that has the whodunit element, how much thought is going into casting for the archetypes, in terms of suspicious-looking suspects versus more non-suspicious people to throw people off, or people that can scream, Final Girl qualities? Is that a consideration for you when you’re casting this?
Oh, definitely, definitely. We want to follow all the conventions of the genre. There are certain things I just absolutely love about the genre, and the Final Girl is no exception. And when Nell Verlaque auditioned, we thought, she’s so sympathetic. She’s so sweet and nice. She’s vulnerable. She’s beautiful. She has this young Julia Roberts quality, and you just root for her. You want her to make it, and she’s smart. And it’s fun to watch: How is she going to get out of these situations where someone with a weapon could easily physically overpower her? What is she going to do to stay one step ahead?
A film that does that really well is “Mute Witness,” the Anthony Waller film. I love that movie so much, and I had Nell watch it, and I went to a screening of it with my DP, which actually ran before we started shooting. It’s one of my favorite films where the cat and mouse is so well done.
But yeah, you want to make sure that the guys are similar enough in certain features that you believe the red herrings work. And then, sometimes, an actor comes in who was supposed to be a suspect in the script, but they physically just don’t match. But they’re so funny or so good that you’re just like, “All right, I’m willing to lose this person as a plausible suspect because I’m enjoying their performance so much.”