Director/writer, Darren Lynn Bousman talked to Horrornews.net about his new film, Death of Me. Darren has another new project called One Day Die. You can get all the information at www.onedaydie.com/ Darren also talked a little bit about the highly anticipated Spiral-Book of Saw. Death of Me is such a creepy film and it stars Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth and Alex Essoe.
Darren Lynn Bousman- Hey Janel.
Hi Darren, how are you?
D.L.B.- I’m doing very well. How are you?
I’m doing good. Thank you. I’m so glad I get to talk with you. I just watched Ruben Pla’s documentary The Horror Crowd and I was glad to see you in it talking about horror. Death of Me was so good. It’s so creepy.
D.L.B.- Thank you so much.
In the beginning of the film, it seems so peaceful and you don’t expect anything that happens. How did this idea manifest for you?
D.L.B.- I was approached by these two producers that I’m very good friend with, Lee Nelson and David Tish who came to with the script called, The Death of Me and it was a much different script at the time, it dealt with voodoo and voodoo dolls. I read it and I loved the premise. The premise was basically a woman who blacked out and she has no recollection of the night before. She uncovers the fact that she was killed the day earlier and yet here she is today, completely alive and well. It was a horror version of Hangover and so, I loved that idea but, I didn’t love the voodoo part of it. I felt that I seen that movie. The first thing we did was say, how can we kind of put this in a different environment and give it a fresh take on what I think people have seen or experienced in the voodoo world before. We started looking around at locations and we ended up saying, okay, we’re going to Thailand and how can we make that movie set in Thai culture? That kind of led to this uncovering of the mythology that we put in the movie. It was kind of a domino effect.
It is so beautifully shot. That opening scene is so amazing. I thought this looks so peaceful and Alex Essoe shows up and I thought, okay everything will be okay and everything was not okay.
D.L.B.- Yeah, first off, Thailand is so fucking beautiful. We shot in two places, we shot in Krabi which is where you’re talking about which is a beautiful tropical-like environment with those mammoth rocks in the water. Then we shot the other part in Bangkok. Krabi was so picture-perfect. It was so beautiful. It’s very subtle in the movie but it does actually happen. Where we shot the movie at the AirBnB, where there was a dock, spoiler alert… where the guy cuts a body part of his out. That water, when hightide was there, you could swim in that water and by the afternoon there was no water there. It was baron land. It was so scary and frightening because you could literally be out there and see all the water come up and then you go inside for a couple of hours and come out and it’s a rock quarry. It was a haunting environment as well. It was such a cool place to shoot.
What can you say about the special effects because there are some gnarly scenes in Death of Me?
D.L.B.- This was a difficult movie from a production stand point due to the kind of challenges that Thailand presented to us. The heat, humidity, the rain, and the isolation. Krabi is in the middle of nowhere, it was not something where if you needed something, you could make a phone call and have it onset in a hour. It didn’t work like that. One of the first things we did was, we built a lot of the effects in America, stateside in Los Angeles and then we shipped them out. That was a problem because if there were any issues, we couldn’t fix them. The thing that I wasn’t prepared for was, for how hot it was in Thailand. The humidity which caused a lot of the appliances to sweat off. Maggie Q. has a couple of appliances, like when her eye is being stitched shut. The appliances would fly off her face because it was so hot there. We had to rethink a lot on the fly. The biggest example is the witch-like creatures that Maggie keeps dreaming of. They were wearing these kinds of insane things with no eyes. We had a great crew in America and in Thailand that just kept persevering.
Are you working on anything next and is there anything you can say at all about Spiral-Book of Saw?
D.L.B.- Yes, well a couple of things. Spiral is… I’m so excited for the world to see it, it’s my return to the Saw universe but with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. I think that it was such a great experience working with those guys. Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols, it was such a cool thing that leans into the Saw universe, but it’s a unique thing entirely. We would love to show it you earlier but its not safe to go to theaters and this is definitely a theater movie. You want to see this with a large crowd. It will come to theaters on May 21, 2021 but, I’ve got something really exciting I’m doing right now which everyone should definitely keep an eye out for. I’m into to immersive theater, its been my passion for the last few years. I kind of spearhead and produce these very large-scale immersive theater productions that are very dark and macabre in nature. ( www.onedaydie.com/ ) I just launched one for this Halloween called One Day Die which you can find at www.onedaydie.com/ I partnered with an amazing writer named Joshua Dietz and two master magicians, Daniel Garcia and Blake Vogt. It is a quarantine Halloween where you sign up, buy a ticket and we send you a box in the mail and then you are given a link the day of your ticket. You participate in a very macabre evening where the box will play a huge role in the story. (Register here, www.onedaydie.com/ and don’t open the box until you are instructed.) It’s scary and creepy, it’s fun and it involves magic. Tickets go on sale on Monday.
That sounds awesome. That sounds different. I’m excited. What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Death of Me?
D.L.B. -It is, it is. What I love about my career is, I kind of do different types of entertainment from rock operas starring Paris Hilton and Sarah Brightman (Repo! The Genetic Opera 2008) to kind of torture-y movies like Mother’s Day to the Saw universe. Death of Me is kind of its own unique thing. It’s kind of my homage to The Wicker Man or The Serpent and the Rainbow. It’s like if The Wicker Man and Serpent and the Rainbow had a child together, it’s that type of movie. It’s not a traditional horror film, it’s definitely not like a Saw film. It’s a lot creepier and quieter. It’s about belief and how far people will go to worship this belief. So, terrible things happen due to this town’s beliefs. It’s a cool little movie, I think it looks beautiful. It’s got such a great score by Mark Sayfritz.
Yes. The score is great in the movie. It’s a calm storm. It keeps you on edge. This cast did such an excellent job too. Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth, Alex Essoe. They did an excellent job.
D.L.B.- That makes me very happy. It was such a fun experience. Luke Hemsworth is now one of my favorite people in the entire world. He’s hilarious. We had a good time making it. It was a quick shoot, I had just had my second kid, I think she was three weeks old when I left. When I landed in Thailand, I said, we got to quick. I have to get home before my wife kills me. We prepped the movie in two weeks and then we shot it in like twenty-some days. We got back on a plane and went back to Los Angeles. It was a quick turnaround. I’m really with it and excited for people to check it out.
Thank you so much Darren. It’s an honor as always to talk to you. I loved Death of Me. Thank you.
D.L.B.- Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for the kind words.
DEATH OF ME is In Theaters, On Demand and Digital October 2nd.
DEATH OF ME is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw franchise, Spiral) and stars Maggie Q (Divergent, “Young Justice”), Luke Hemsworth (“Westworld,” Thor: Ragnarok) and Alex Essoe (Doctor Sleep, Midnighters). The film was written by Ari Margolis (Black Days), James Morley III (Black Days) and David Tish making his feature screenwriting debut.
SYNOPSIS: Vacationing on an island off the coast of Thailand, Christine (Maggie Q) and Neil Oliver (Luke Hemsworth) awake hungover and with no memory of the previous night. They find footage on Neil’s camera, and watch, horrified, as Neil appears to murder Christine. With twenty-four hours until the next ferry and a typhoon threatening the island, Christine and Neil attempt to reconstruct the night’s events—and are snared in a web of mystery, black magic, and murder.