RAVEN is a new horror short written by Jazmine Cornielle and directed by Sam Kassover of Human Pincushion Productions.
RAVEN follows a young painter who moves away from an abusive ex and into a New York apartment to start fresh. She soon meets her neighbor whose friendship turns more menacing by the minute…
Watch the full film here!
A Q&A with writer Jazmine Cornielle
First off, congrats on the release of RAVEN! What a twisted film! It really had me on edge right from the beginning. How did the concept for the film come to you?
Thank you! I’m so glad people are liking it. It was a lot of hard work and was my baby for a bit. And like all my writing projects, once I’m done with it, I hurl it at the world haha.
I always write any ideas/concepts that pop in my head. But sometimes I just write down words. So when I was brainstorming ideas for my next film and was looking over my notes, I saw I had written the word OBSESSION down. I love movies and TV shows that explore obsession. I’m kind of obsessed with it so to speak. The idea of someone being obsessed with an object, idea, or person, that’s what I wanted to explore through a horror lens. And something about that excited me so I ran with that.
I tend to watch a lot of true crime shows about neighbour situations gone bad. This film, of course, takes it to the next level. Were you inspired by any true life events or other horror films when creating RAVEN?
I was actually inspired by Single White Female which is more of a thriller. I always really liked that movie but always thought that it could have been taken to another level. It didn’t go far enough for me. So that’s what I wanted to do with RAVEN.
With such a small cast, the success of the film really hangs on the characters, and there is excellent character development here. You star alongside Rebi Paganini as the two female leads. What helped you get into character to put on such a believable performance?
Thank you for saying that. I think finding how Raven and I were alike was key. She also feels like an outsider and doesn’t think she is enough in this world. But how she and I deal with that, and how we go about getting what we want, is COMPLETELY different. I meditate, make art, and go to protests. She is a sociopath that clings on to one person who she wants to be. Someone who has all the things she wants, who has privilege. And if it doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to go in her mind, she manipulates and eventually…. well let’s not spoil it!
Also, it helps to have good training and tools to take on, or attempt to take on, different characters.
“She is a sociopath that clings on to one person who she wants to be. Someone who has all the things she wants, who has privilege.”—Jazmine Cornielle
For a short film, the tension builds at a nice pace. We’re introduced to these two neighbours, a cordial relationship starts, then things become obsessive. Without giving away any spoilers, what are some methods you used to build suspense?
Without explaining and exposition, I think it’s important to give the audience clues to Raven’s motives or intentions and at the same time keeping Rachel in the dark. It’s what provides suspense. Because you know something is coming.. but you’re not exactly sure what! (And I hope I was able to surprise people).
The practical effects were really powerful and there’s just the perfect amount of gore. A few scenes had me squirming in my seat!! Any fun BTS stories from on set you can share?
Oh good! So to simulate someone being stabbed we tried something interesting. We took the head of a cabbage, tapped a Ziploc bag of blood to it, and then put it in the clothes that the character wears. Then we tapped it to a chair and had 3 people hold it at an angle. The DP came in real close with the camera… then we stabbed the crap out of the cabbage!!! It turned out really great in the final cut.
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