What’s your favorite genre to work in and why?
When I started making short films, my first few were comedies. Because that’s what I thought would get me the most clicks on YouTube. But then when I experimented with my first horror short, I realized that was the genre I wanted to work in. Everyone had more fun on set, and I discovered that I had more control over the tone of the final product in post-production by tweaking sound cues, music, and editing choices.
Which project have you enjoyed doing the most?
My most recent film is always going to be my favorite, because it’s my closest memory. I put so much of myself into everything I do, I think it would be sad if my current project wasn’t the one I was enjoying the most, at least in the moment.
How would you sum up the new movie?
#FromJennifer is a genre-defying film. It’s part found-footage, part Hollywood spoof, part slasher and part character study. It has a fair amount of suspense, but also a fair amount of laughs
What is its greatest strength?
I like surprising the audience with twists, I like making them laugh and gasp, while maintaining a specific tone. That was the trickiest thing for me with #FromJennifer, hitting that horror/comedy sweet spot where it can switch from light to dark and back while feeling natural. Thanks to my terrific cast, I think we pulled it off pretty well.
Can we ask about your favorite film- it doesn’t necessarily have to be a genre movie
When I was a kid, my favorite movie was Ghostbusters. That’s sorta sci-fi, right? It’s on my mind right now because it’s such a perfect blend of light and dark. I didn’t even realize it was a comedy until I was older. When I was a kid, I was delightfully terrified by it!
In terms of horror movies, have you one?
My all-time favorite horror film is Scream. It’s self-aware, but that doesn’t take away from the fear factor. It’s actually a very scary slasher film, mostly because the characters are all so likeable. It’s also a great murder-mystery with a satisfyingly twisty ending
How has that film inspired or shaped your own career?
I’ve studied Scream to figure out how it does everything right. It’s just so darn fun. In my opinion, tone is the most important part of filmmaking. Whenever a film doesn’t “work,” no matter what genre it is, it’s usually because of a tone problem. Once you establish the tone of a film, straying from that tone just feels weird. This can be related to the script, or the acting, or the cinematic style. Filmmakers should always strive to find a tone, and stick with it.
If you could resurrect or reanimate a late filmmaker – who would you dig up and put back in front of a camera?
I guess George Romero would be the obvious answer… because then he’d be an actual zombie making zombie films, for maximum authenticity. Maybe it’s too soon to joke about that, but with Romero’s twisted sense of humor, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. If I had a second crack at grave robbing, I’d dig up Stanly Kubrick and let him make the epic biopic about Napoleon that he never got around to making. Just because I’d like to see that movie.