I recently got the chance to talk to writer and director Dominic Perez about his new film, ‘Evil Things’. Here, Dominic talks about how the idea came about in the first place, and what made him want to become a director…
Hey Dominic. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Evil Things’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
‘Evil Things’ is about a group of young adults who go away for a weekend excursion into the country, and find themselves trapped in the worst nightmare of their lives.
You wrote and directed the feature – how did the idea come about in the first place? How easy was it to put into production?
I was incredibly frustrated with many of the horror movies coming out a few years ago. They were focused on gore and torture and they were not enjoyable to me. I wanted to make a movie and go back to the basics on what scares us, or what is scary to ME at least. I asked myself how can I make a movie for no money, and scare the hell out of myself? The answer was ‘Evil Things’. And no, the movie was not easy to put into production. I first had to get over the many psychological barriers that we humans create for ourselves. When considering achieving something complicated or difficult we often get caught up in focusing on the obstacles on the road instead of looking straight ahead at the true goal, the final destination. My co-producer Mario Valdez helped me to overcome many of the obstacles in our way. I advise people to surround themselves with supportive people who inspire you to be your best. Those people are rare. When you find them, don’t let them go.
How would you say the film is different from other horror thrillers released this year? What tricks as a director did you try to throw in?
‘Evil Things’ contains a major twist that makes it very different from anything I’ve ever seen, but I can not reveal that twist because I’d rather that viewers experience it when watching the movie. Other than that major twist, the movie is really about getting to know and like the main characters and then when really bad things start happening to them the emotional experience for the viewer is profound. That is why we all go to the movies after all. We want to go on a journey with people we like and to be moved emotionally.
How has the reception been to the film so far?
Some people hate the movie with a passion and some people love it. I would be upset if people were just bored by it, but the movie seems to elicit some pretty strong reactions from people, both the lovers AND the haters. I think this is because the movie creates many more questions than answers. ‘Evil Things’ is designed to create a terrifying itch in your brain, one that you can never scratch. I encourage everyone (no matter how they feel about the movie) to post their reviews and reactions to the movie everywhere.
The film stars Laurel Casillo, Morgan Hooper, Gail Cadden, Elyssa Mersdorf, Torrey Weiss and Ryan Maslyn, and was produced by Mario Valdez-Steckler – what was it like working with the cast and crew?
The main cast and crew were all amazing. There was complete professionalism on the set. I auditioned thousands of NYC area actors and finally pulled together a dream team of talented young actors. Producer Mario Valdez provided guidance and inspiration and created a vibe where the actors could deliver exactly what I was looking for.
Let’s talk a bit about you Dominic. What made you want to get into the directing chair in the first place?
From the first moment I picked up a video camera I became addicted to capturing life and then manipulating what I had captured in order to tell an entertaining story. My goal has always been to take my imagined fantasies/scenarios and transform them into moving images so that other people can enjoy them. Being a director is the best way to achieve that.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career in writing and directing?
Embrace the fear and do it anyway. It does not matter that you don’t have rich parents, that you don’t have Hollywood connections or that you can’t walk, see or hear even. Just make it happen no matter what. Do whatever it takes. But make sure you concentrate on the story and characters and cast actors that have that magical something that makes you want to cry, cheer or throw up. My point is that the actors should make you feel something.
What films have inspired you as an artist? Do you have any favourites?
My all-time favorite films include: ‘The Color Purple’, ‘My Left Foot’, ‘The Piano’, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, ‘Wild Strawberries’ (Ingmar Bergman).
What does a Dominic Perez day usually consist of?
Marketing and promoting ‘Evil Things’ for half the day, the other half is spent looking for my next movie idea.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
OMG, it was the day I heard that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony were splitting up. I was totally and completely devastated. I had hoped that their love would last forever.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I will start on my next film project at the end of this year, which is almost here. I’d better get started.
Thanks for the interview!