Sponsored feature: Harrow House Films
Those Who Call is a new horror/thriller written and directed by Anubys Lopez of Harrow House Films.
When their car breaks down in a small Texan town, two sisters must do everything in their power to survive a sadistic pagan cult.
A Q&A with writer and director Anubys Lopez
We’re thrilled to have you join us to chat about your new film Those Who Call, a terrifying new thriller about two sisters trying to escape a cold-blooded cult. How did you come up with the concept of the film?
First and foremost, thank you for having me, it’s all my pleasure.
The film’s concept actually came to mind a couple of years ago during a trip to Colorado. My girlfriend and I decided to split the drive and I took on the night shift. It was a fifteen-hour trip, so you can imagine how tired we were. I tried to push through during my turn but dozed off for a moment. The next thing I knew, I was woken up by the sound of foliage being hit and me driving over potholes. I had driven off the road and was in the middle of nowhere in the woods. To this day, I have no idea how we ended up where we did. Somehow, my girlfriend managed to stay asleep during all of this, so I woke her up to explain what had happened. Neither of us had any signal, so we couldn’t “GPS” our way out. At the time, it was a scary experience, so I jokingly said to her, “Hey, this would make a great horror movie!”
The film touches on religion, witchcraft, missing people. Were you inspired by any other horror films or true crime stories?
Believe it or not, my childhood was my entire inspiration. I was born and raised into a religious cult but escaped when I was eighteen. They had very controversial and odd practices, as most religious cults do. Members weren’t allowed to have any sort of social life outside of the compound. They had their own community so everything we needed, including housing, was provided. I wanted to incorporate some of these practices in the film to shed light on events that transpire when someone is brainwashed. It’s a dangerous thing when one isn’t allowed to think for themselves.
It’s a dangerous thing when one isn’t allowed to think for themselves.—Anubys Lopez
The two leads, Yetlanezi Rodriguez and Angie Sandoval, have great on-screen chemistry as Sandra and Ana Pedregales. Their relationship seems to have many layers and it’s enjoyable watching them work together. What was the casting process like and how did you decide they were right for the roles?
Angie and Yetlanezi were amazing to work with! Every submission we received was incredible, but Angie and Yetlanezi really stood out to me. Not only were they talented, but the way they carried themselves gave life to the script as if I was actually watching it on screen. Once I met them for the first time and ran a couple of lines, it was instant joy. They got along so well that they made me believe they were actual sisters.
The film has some striking visuals! I love all the red :). What was one of the biggest challenges while filming?
Thank you! Red is a favorite color of mine to use on my films. It adds this subconscious fear in viewers.
When it comes to production, I feel like the biggest challenge was the lack of electricity and A/C. We were shooting in the middle of the woods during the summer, so the mosquitos looked like they were on steroids! I believe we went through five cans of mosquito repellant trying to not get eaten alive!
We did have a major hiccup when it came to filming the gas station scene. We booked the location ahead of time, but the owner never showed and wouldn’t answer any of our calls, so we were kicked out, essentially. We had people drive in from all over Texas that day, so we knew we had to act fast, as we were losing daylight as well. Thankfully, we found an amazing place not too far away that allowed us to shoot there, which is the one you see in the film.
What can you reveal to audiences about the cult and their motive? Without giving too much away of course.
This specific cult worships the god Esus. There’s a great deal of small hints throughout the film that give insight into this god. The cult is driven by tradition, and because everyone in this cult has been brainwashed into doing things a certain way, no one had a problem with what transpired in the end. It was just “another day in the cult” for everyone.
The film is set in a small Texas town and primarily takes place outdoors. There are some beautiful scenic shots. Whereabouts did you film and how did you decide on the location?
There were two main locations we continuously used, one being in Magnolia, Texas, which is just a mile away from where the Texas Renaissance Festival takes place. The other location we used was Bellville, Texas, which is another small town that we frequent quite often. We fell in love with the vast wooded areas and their vintage appeal. Very nice people as well!
Where can people watch the film once it’s released?
Those Who Call will be streaming on all major platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Peacock, Vudu, YouTube, and Tubi.
Follow @harrowhousefilms on Instagram to learn more about Those Who Call.