Writer/Director David Bruckner made a name for himself with 2007’s The Signal. Now, as one of the directors of V/H/S – a film that breathes new life into the stagnant found footage genre – he’s able to explore his fascination with the sociological repercussions of technological immersion in deeper, more horrific, areas.
I spoke with Bruckner recently about his interest in media, V/H/S, his new short, and what’s coming up next for him.
In the film, “When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.”
Hit the jump to check out the interview! How did you get involved with the project?
“I heard through a good friend of mine, Jacob Gentry who worked on The Signal with me, that the producers were looking for filmmakers for a found footage anthology. And that is probably the only kind of anthology right now that I think can work.”
Without giving too much away, what were the visual influences for you short?
“I saw Enter The Void last year. I saw it once and I don’t think I need to see it again. There’s a filing cabinet in the back of my brain that’s got ‘Enter The Void’ in it if I want to go there. And I thought found footage, especially POV, was a really exciting idea. You could role play with a central character and literally be forced to be them no matter what kind of situation they got into. I knew that I wanted to do something like that and I quickly threw them a treatment of what I was thinking.”
Having seen the film, it feels like a lot of the segments are thematically connected. Were there marching orders given going in?
“I knew nothing of the other shorts before I started. I was surprised when I saw it to see so many similar themes.”
What was one of the plusses of doing a brief segment like this?
“If you don’t have to commit to a feature you can loosen the reigns on what’s expected of you. You can try something new. The vibe was, ‘go do something crazy and we’ll be hands off’. “
How is this an evolution from The Signal?
“I seem to be really interested in media and the way media has transformed our worldview and what we think and the insanity that erupts from that.”
You recently completed another short, right?
“I’ve done a short film that’s going to festivals now called “Talk Show” that has a lot to do with the torture debate in mainstream media and what that became on cable news and what not. That has some definite horror elements to it as well. It’s the kind of subject matter I’m drawn to”.
What’s up next for you?
“There’s a couple of things I want to do. Right now I think I’m interested in engineering some straight suspense. We’ve got a mystery that we’re working on, a well structured horrific piece. But there’s definitely a piece that I’m really moving towards that I may not be ready to do that very much revels in how dark and horrific the internet can be. I’m not sure if I’ll tackle that next though, it might be a few projects down the road.”
The internet moves so fast you’ll have to rewrite it a bunch before then.
“Yeah I’ve already run into that. I’ve already had a project be completely outdated within two years. You have to get a real hypothetical. You almost have to get sci-fi to talk about the present sometimes.”
V/H/S premieres at the Sundance Film Festival as part of their Midnight Programming On January 22nd.