Filmmaker Padraig Reynolds Discusses Supernatural Thriller WORRY DOLLS!
Padraig Reynolds, the genre-bending director responsible for 2011’s RITES OF SPRING returns with the fast-paced supernatural thriller, WORRY DOLLS.
The Guatemalan Indians teach their children an old story. If you have worries, you share them with your Worry Dolls at bedtime. You put the dolls in a box and come dawn, the worries have been taken away…In the aftermath of the hunt for notorious serial killer, Henry Leonard Bale, a peaceful town erupts in a chain of random, brutal murders. What Detective Matt Williams discovers is as unbelievable as it is undeniable – These killings all stem from an ancient set of Worry Dolls that was gifted to Bale when he was a boy. Now, with his young daughter’s life hanging in the balance, Matt is pitted against the clock to find the dolls and break their curse.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Padraig to discuss what drew him to direct WORRY DOLLS, the process involved in making the film and what’s next for him, all ahead of the January 18th home entertainment release of the film.
CULT OF MONSTER: Can you tell us a little about playing with audience expectation? Your previous feature RITES OF SPRING seemingly starts off as a tale of kidnapping that quickly escalates into a cult come creature feature and now WORRY DOLLS after an intense opening ten minutes that would lead viewers to believe there in for a slasher film, transcends that to become an aggressive possession film.
PADRAIG REYNOLDS: What attracted me to WORRY DOLLS was that it was basically a police drama with supernatural voodoo overtones. I’m a big fan of the voodoo/horror genre and there really aren’t many movies out there in that genre. Like RITES OF SPRING, I am really fascinated with stories that take you in a different direction then you thought you were going. My goal is a director is to keep the audience guessing and giving them something different then they are use to.
COM: Being the first production you’ve directed that you haven’t written, are you able to tell us of the experience in bringing someone’s else script to the screen and if there were any challenges you faced in doing so?
PR: Both writers are intelligent, savvy and really know what makes a good story. They structured a really great script and I was lucky that Christopher Wiehl and Danny Kolker let me bring my own set of story ideas to their exciting script.
COM: Given this is your second feature to shoot in Mississippi, aside from the content of this film dictating a southern location, is there something that draws you back to Mississippi in particular?
PR: The producers approached me about where they should shoot the movie and I suggested Mississippi cause I had such a great experience shooting there. We did a location scout and we found everything we needed in the script in just a couple days. I think the souther location is a character on to itself. It really helps the atmosphere and makes our small movie look bigger.
COM: RITES OF SPRING was a tight shoot on only seventeen days, how long was principal photography on WORRY DOLLS and was there anything you learnt in working with such a swift production on RITES OF SPRING that you brought to WORRY DOLLS?
PR: RITES OF SPRING was actually eighteen days with two extra days of reshoots and beauty location shots. So WORRY DOLLS was the same amount of time. I think 20 days should be the minimum for any indie feature. The more time you have the better your movie is going to be. I had the luxury of shooting a movie in Mississippi before, so I was prepared for getting more bang for my buck this time around. It really helps when you know the lay of the land and can use that to your benefit.
COM: WORRY DOLLS has a stunning visual aesthetic and reunites you with cinematographer Adam Sampson who worked on some of your earlier shorts, can you tell us about your collaborative partnership?
PR: Adam was the first DP I ever met in Los Angeles. We worked on a comic book fan film and then he shot my short THE ELECTION. We really work fantastic together. We are always on the same page and Adam brings some really great stuff that I would never think off. For instance. The Hospital Chase at the beginning was your standard chase girl around the abandoned Hospital but once we found our location and how badass it was. We went there for a whole day and choreographed the whole scene together. Adam suggested several shots that really made the scene rock and roll. And that is how I like to direct. I love when people bring something to the table that is just mind blowing great that I didn’t think of. To me it really makes everyone that much into the production.
COM: What’s next for you, is RITES OF SPRING 2 still on the cards?
PR: My next film I hope with be this psychological thriller called OPEN 24 HOURS that I hope to shoot in Mississippi this year. RITES OF SPRING 2 is still on the table. The script is done and it’s one of my favorites. It takes the story in a completely different direction. It answers a lot of questions from the first film but still stands on it’s own.
COM: Being that we’re only in January of 2017, are you able to share with us any of your favourite genre films of 2016?
PR: My favorite genre films of 2016 were GREEN ROOM, CARNAGE PARK, HUSH, SOUTHBOUND, HOLIDAYS and DON’T BREATHE.
WORRY DOLLS streets January 18th on DVD & Blu-ray at all good retailers across Australia and you can grab a copy here!