Trespassing is an upcoming horror short written and directed by Adam Neeson and Gary Whelan.
After a failed suicide attempt, Scotty (Ewan McCartney) is convinced by his three friends (Gary Whelan, John McGrillen, Odhran McAtamney) to go on a weekend camping trip to clear their minds and escape their hectic lives. But when they mistakenly anger an unknown evil in the forest, they soon realize that their problems at home are the least of their worries.
A Q&A with writer and director, Adam Neeson below.
Rabbit: Congratulations on your first short film, Trespassing. We’re really looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve! The theme of this film is about a loss of identity, both figuratively and literally. How did you come up with the concept?
Adam Neeson: Thank you very much! The main concept of the story came from Gary Whelan (Game of Thrones) who came to me with ideas about creatures based in Irish Folklore and how we could create something using those ideas to make an Evil Dead/Cabin in the Woods type movie. We would get together at my house for brainstorming nights, which mainly entailed eating a lot of Chinese food and watching horror movies. Chris would also be there. Once we had a solid structure, I got to work on the script. I took a lot from my own personal life to make the characters three dimensional and more relatable than your average stereotypical horror movie characters. Also, during the whole lockdown, seeing Joe Bob Briggs’ speech on The Last Drive-In about ‘not calling yourself “Inspiring filmmakers” and to just call yourself a “filmmaker” then go make a movie’ really gave us the encouragement we needed.
Rabbit: I’d be down for those Chinese food and horror movie nights! What are some of your favorite horror films and do you have any favourite directors? Did any of them inspire Trespassing
AN: I love all the classics; The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street but I’ve also got a soft spot for 80’s horror like Re-Animator and Hellraiser. My top 3 horror movies are probably The Shining, Evil Dead 2 and The Thing, and my love for those movies definitely shines through in Trespassing. A mix of Kubrick’s foreboding terror, Carpenter’s body horror and Raimi’s twisted sense of humour. David Lynch has been a huge influence on me as a director; the behind the diner moment from Mulholland Drive is probably the scariest scene in cinema for me, personally.
Rabbit: I hear the cast is made up of young acting students and first-time actors. What was the casting process like? Have you worked with any of these actors before and how did you know who was right for each role?
AN: Luckily, most of the cast and crew all work at the Movie House Cinema here in Belfast. I’ve been trying to make a movie for years now but it wasn’t until I started working in a cinema and meeting like-minded people that I was even able to attempt making something like Trespassing. Ewan McCartney and Odhran McAtamney are both acting students, Gary Whelan has been acting for 10 years now and John McGrillen hasn’t acted in anything before, but the script was written with these people in mind, so they are very natural with the material. John is fantastic and provides comedic relief throughout the film. His natural charm and timing is excellent. Gary has been in every season of Game of Thrones, so he brings a lot of professionalism to his role.
Rabbit: I understand Trespassing is going to have an old school horror feel to it. How do you plan to achieve the effects for some of the more gory scenes?
AN: We’ve actually spent our time during lockdown researching and practising special effects. It’s been a long few months of making prosthetics and fake blood. We take pride in doing everything practically, as we love the work of people like Tom Savini and Greg Nicotero. I hate CGI in horror movies; I’d rather have a real person in a dumb rubber mask than someone made completely by a computer.
Rabbit: Tell us about the monsters in the film. What can we expect?
AN: I can’t say much about the monsters, as we want to keep some surprises. I CAN say that they’re all based in Irish Folklore. So, The Banshee, Fairies and Changelings all make an appearance. I’ll leave our big reveal for when you see the movie yourself…
Rabbit: Any scenes you’re looking forward to filming most?
AN: I’m really looking forward to shooting a lot of the gory scenes obviously, but there’s actually a scene between our main character, Scotty, and Morrigan (Catherine McGuigan) who is like a protector of the woods type character. Scotty has recently tried to take his own life, and halfway through our story, he meets this mystical character in the woods by himself. When she meets Scotty, she hugs him and it’s a quiet moment between two characters that don’t know each other, but they’re able to have this powerful connection. So I can’t wait to get to set and shoot something completely different from all the horror and comedy.
Trespassing is expected for release at the start of 2021.
Follow @trespassingmovie on Instagram and check back for trailer and updates soon.
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