Johnathon Schaech, who once starred as the slasher in Prom Night, and was stalked by one in Laid to Rest, is being hunted down by Jackals from Saw VI and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter director Kevin Greutert.
The ’80s-set psychological thriller, in limited theaters and On Demand September 1st., centers on an estranged family who hires a cult de-programmer (Stephen Dorff) to get back their teenage son from a murderous cult, only to find themselves under siege when the cultists surround their cabin, demanding the boy back.
Schaech plays the father who hires the cult de-programmer to save his son from himself. Only, he’s hiding his own secrets that may have caused the events to unfold.
“There is and always will be a program to heal problems,” he explained. “Joining a cult was a serious problem back in the day — but even today, teenage boys need something to believe in — it’s up to their parents to help them avoid bad influence because the latest movement is calling their name. In the case of Jackals the father was holding onto his lies, so his son learned to keep secrets. Dorff’s character is brought in to disconnect the problem, but the Jackals aren’t your typical cult and my son doesn’t have a typical problem.”
“I’m a dad now – it’s changed my life so much,” he adds, speaking to the relatability of his real life to the father role. “But playing a father who did bad things in the past (in Jackals) – those bad things manifested into something deadly. Keeping secrets is one of the most deadly things one can do.” playing a liar only made me deal with it in my life more. It RIPPED a part of my soul out. To know I was responsible for all this pain. Man, I got HONEST real quick.
“Playing a liar only made me deal with it in my life more,” he continues. “It ripped a part of my soul out. To know I was responsible for all this pain. Man, I got honest real quick.
“That’s good horror – when it is relatable to our lives. The Jackals are just a mask that the abuse and shame cover.”
The violence was also a lesson, stripping it down to the famous saying, “violence begets violence.”
“It was written violent but we made it [even] more violent,” added Schaech. “I just couldn’t let this character give up – he was going to fight for his family till the end. It’s more interesting when you see someone trying to make up for their sins, fighting to make things right. He finally realizes he was wrong and is determined to make things right. The Jackals stand in his way…
“It’s important to show violence for violence. We don’t want violence in our life, but it’s a reality…if it’s played out differently than it really is – if it’s softened to appease rating, it can be more damaging. You get your point across with violence.”
Schaech can also be seen in the forthcoming remake of Day of the Dead.