Director Adam Wingard feels very pleased with the success of his film. “I’m pretty satisfied with it,” he said when asked about the positive response the indie circuit has given his film “A Horrible Way To Die.” “The criticism is generally one of two things; some people think it’s either too stylized, particularly with the camera work, or the ending is too stylized. Some people felt the ending was too over the top. But the reception’s been great. We got a positive review from the New York Times, and the reaction is pretty accurate to how I feel about the film.”
Quite a lot of the buzz is about the characterization (thanks to writer Simon Barrett) and eerie atmosphere that pervades the film. To get the atmospheric feeling to the film, Winegard used creativity and, oddly enough, the restrictions of the budget.
“It was an intuitive kind of process,” he said. “We had a much smaller budget [than usual]…we had to find a cohesive way to tell the story…we had to find a new, inventive way to tell our story while getting the performances we wanted.”
Improv was a very big part of the filming process. “We wanted to do something we hadn’t seen in the serial killer subgenre [of horror],” said Wingard. “We would light one side of the room and let the actors go for long takes, 10 minutes or so. We allowed the actors total freedom.” Once in editing, Winegard was free to make a cohesive style for the film.
Surprisingly, the hardest part of the film, apart from dealing with the budget, was finding college students in college town Columbia, Missouri, who had enough free time to act. “In Hollywood, if you give someone a speaking part, they’re generally like, ‘Cool, I get to have a speaking part in a film!’ But some of the college students turned us down because of a previous obligation, like acting in a play for kindergartners. We were like, ‘What? The kindergartners won’t even be able to remember the play, but you could be in a film that will be around forever!” he said.
The main thing Wingard wants people to take away from “Die” is the experience of seeing a different side of the serial killer subgenre. “We wanted to give them something that they’ve never seen before.”
“A Horrible Way To Die” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray September 6.