So we’re finally here! You’re Next opens tomorrow, August 23rd. Actually, I think you can see it most places starting TONIGHT at 10PM. To cap off my coverage of the film, I’m posting an interview I did with Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) last week. Not only is she a horror icon, she’s also a fantastic actress (sometimes you don’t get both qualities at the same time) who really nails her role in the film as Aubrey, the family matriarch.
In the film out tomorrow, “When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped…until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.”
I think she obviously had her first child when she was very young and got married when she was very young. And it seems like she was quite well taken care of by her husband and hasn’t had to do very much. She had four kids, I only have two and I’m tearing my hair out [laughs] so having four I can’t even imagine. She’s also at an age where she’s going through a change in her life, which has affected me as well. I think a lot of women have physical issues at this time in their lives and maybe they don’t get addressed. And I think that’s maybe what’s happening with her. So she at times is very fearful and timid and then other times she feels a little bit stronger.
I got the part 10 days before I left for Missouri so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it, but I remembered when I was thirteen my Mother started going through these changes. Physiological stuff that affected her psychology. I can remember being in the grocery store with her and she would always have to be holding on to the shopping cart because she would feel like, if she wasn’t holding on to something, she wouldn’t be able to walk and would fall. So a lot of things I play in the character I got from watching my mother.
There’s a representation of grief in this movie that you don’t really see in a lot of horror films. What’s it like playing that when things are moving so fast onscreen?
It’s a very difficult place to go into, but to make that situation believable I felt I had to go deeply into that moment. So mentally I used one of my children, thinking about this happening to one of my children in my own life. So maybe a half hour before filming this particular scene I was putting myself in this dark place where I imagined losing this particular child. You have to be in that place for a number of minutes before the camera rolls so you can be secure in that space and it can be grabbed on camera.
The movie doesn’t go out of its way to manufacture a bunch of “you should like these people” moments for the family. I think the audience cares about the family because they’re recognizable.
I think that Simon [Barrett], in the writing of the piece, set up really specific archetypes that the audience member can relate to quite easily. It’s a family that’s dysfunctional and we can all recognize ourselves in one or two characters in the movie. Also, a lot of the actors in the film have worked together before, there was a certain shorthand and camaraderie that these people had. Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Simon and Adam. Also Nick Tucci was in a movie that Keith Calder and Jessica Wu [the producers] did called Undocumented. We are a family and we have a relationship and dynamics that work between us, and you want to see something real and immediate on camera. Rob [Moran] and I came in and we didn’t know anybody, but everyone in this movie was so real and welcoming and wanting to be in a relationship with us – on camera and off camera. Within three days we felt like part of the family. AJ was sort of the ringleader and was the glue for all of us. I’ve grown to love him like a son.
It seems like Keith Calder and Jessica Wu are fairly hands on producers. With a low-budget film like this, what kind of environment do they foster?
It’s interesting that you ask that question because not a lot of producers know a lot about what goes on in terms of making a movie but, more than anyone I’ve ever worked with, Keith and Jess know everything. They’re very smart, dynamic people. They were on set every single day. Every moment. Talking to Adam and talking to Simon and watching every scene and every shot in a very encouraging way. They were very good at working in concert with everybody else and with everything that was going on. They were a welcome part of the entire process and you don’t always feel that way about producers.
The dinner scene is sort of the heart of the movie, I can’t imagine how much went into that.
It was the longest scene to shoot, it was at least two days. Maybe three. I was told after we shot it that it was nine minutes, so that was obviously going to be too long. It is the heart of the movie, during the dinner scene the complexity and dysfunction comes out and you really get to see what everybody is made of. And by the end of the scene, we know what kind of danger the characters are in and how they deal with peril.