Indie slasher Entrance opens on IFC Midnight Cable VOD and Digital Outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited) this Friday, May 18th. It’s a deceptively quiet horror film starring Suziey Block as Suzy, a lonely young woman in Los Angeles going through a serious case of malaise. It’s almost a mumblecore From Dusk Till Dawn in that you might not even know it’s a slasher movie until you’re a good deal of the way through it. It’s also really good.
But don’t take my word for it. From BC’s review, “On a technical level with regards to its slasher elements, Entrance is a pretty great flick. There are a couple of earned jolts, some surprisingly good kills, and a slow burn creepiness not unlike The Strangers or Ils, not to mention the creative approach – our “Final Girl” is in every single frame of the film, which doesn’t allow for her slutty best friend to go off alone or even cutaways during the scare scenes. By design the slasher film is a fairly limited concept, so anytime I can walk away impressed by how the filmmakers handled their well-worn material on the directorial side of things, I am happy.”
I recently hopped on the phone with directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath to talk about the film’s style, their approach to shooting LA and adding horrific stakes to a genre some would refer to as mumblecore. Head inside to check it out.
Entrance is one of the few horror films I’ve seen that really shows off Los Angeles the way a lot of young people here see it.
Dallas Hallam: I think part of that comes back to the way we approached making the film. Everything is real. The people, the places they work, the clothes that they wear, the way that they talk. Everyone in the film is kind of there representing their actual lives. And by taking you on the walk in the very beginning of the movie, we really inadvertently made an LA film. We’re all here living that life. And [we know] the lonely part of that life. Everyone in the film except for one person was transplanted to the city. Many of us have gone through what Suzy’s gone through. Minus some of the horror, of course. But we’ve all been lonely here, it’s a very difficult city.
Can you talk about that a little bit? What was it like for you guys when you first moved here?
Patrick Horvath: When I first moved here I was lucky enough to have a safety net created by Dallas. He’d been living here for three years at this point. So I had a place to crash and had already made all sorts of friends so it was a lot easier for me than it could have been. I was working as a Production Assistant for the first couple of years that I lived here, primarily in Hollywood. It was like being on a different planet for a while. It forces you to figure out what brought you here.
DH: That’s a good point. “Why are you out here?” Before we made Entrance I knew I wanted to make movies. But how, and with whom, I didn’t know. I had no idea. I moved out here almost 10 years ago and it took me 8 years to really get my sea legs.
Your approach to the slasher elements here aren’t standard issue either. We spend a lot of time with the character before the sh*t hits the fan. What films influenced this and what do you find scary in your own lives?
DH: Oh yeah. Well there’s a really direct influence from the Dardenne brothers, the Belgian filmmakers. But we wanted to make a film that took the ideas about how those guys constructed movies and combine that with what people call mumblecore movies but then give it stakes. Give them horror movie stakes. It is a horror movie. And it’s a slasher movie. And the thing about horror is that I’ll watch everything. Even the crap. I think I’ve seen every slasher movie that existed but I’m trying to think of direct influences and I keep going to giallo films. I think there’s some of that in there. But certainly Michael Haneke influenced some moments as well.
Like Funny Games?
DH: Yeah, it’s a confrontational movie and we probably get a lot of that from Michael Haneke films.
PH: And there’s parts of Cache, but there’s also parts of Friday The 13th. We’re influenced by all of them. Here’s the thing, we’re both film buffs. And we just consume. And these things just work themselves into your subconscious and they manifest themselves into something real.
DH: Yeah, we try and use those moments from an informed point of view but sometimes stuff sneaks in. We’re all film buffs so we can’t escape it.
You mentioned mumblecore, which can be an effective but reductive way of describing a genre. There’s more to your movie than that.
DH: [laughs] Yes, it’s a name for a genre that makes fun of a genre. The thing about mumblecore, our problem with some of them, is that they have no stakes.
PH: There’s consequences here. We wanted to really hammer that one home.
Yeah, mumblecore sometimes seems like a justification for lazy choices. Your film doesn’t feel lazy. You seem to be doing everything you can within the constraints of your [small] budget.
DH: Yeah I feel like what we learned on Entrance is a lesson we could take into the future. Which is to take a long, hard look at the budget and then construct the film around that. We only had $6,000 dollars when we started. And a lot of people go, “well my script has this car wreck in it so I’m going to figure out a way to make this car wreck work.” And they never realistically ask themselves if they can make the wreck work. I mean Suzy works in a coffee shop, and we could have written her job to be anywhere. But she actually works in a coffee shop so we wrote what we had access to.
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