Interview: Christopher Reith – Director of Chain

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Every so often it’s refreshing to see a horror movie come along that does not conform to the typical and expected conventions of the genre and instead tries to be completely new and unique, as Christopher Reith, the director of CHAIN, explains.

See CHAIN on Indiegogo here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/chain–2

What is CHAIN?

CHAIN is a 10 minute short psychological horror about how a man’s walk home to his apartment becomes distorted into a labyrinthine world filled with traps, monsters and strange revelations. What is perfect about CHAIN is that it covers such a wide fan base in the horror community. If you like monsters and heart pounding scares, CHAIN is your type of film. If you prefer horror films with a big emphasis on atmosphere and underlying themes, CHAIN is also your type of horror film.

Japanese horror and indie horror games were very influential when I was writing CHAIN. I love the rich use of colour and sound in J-Horror and have a great respect for the design elements of horror games. Taking elements from a long list of horrors I’ve watched and played has helped shape what I believe is a terrifying horror film that will get audiences talking and analysing.

Can you tell us about the cast and crew?

They’re a great bunch, I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. Most of us have all worked together before and we have a varied mix of long term professionals and new and enthusiastic young talent. Kevin James plays the lead. He’s a stage thespian by heart but he’s a fantastic character actor and absolutely nailed the part with the smallest of brief. We’re under the company banner of my best friend and producer’s company EQ Films and our DP is Andrew ‘Dad’ Parsons of Bruizer Productions. My brother Ali is an up and coming special effects designer. He’s currently busy working on a new Disney project but he’s already coming up with creature designs for CHAIN as we speak.

The whole crew has worked on projects from University short films to The Avengers – Age of Ultron, I feel very humble to be around them and it’s a real buzz seeing them get passionate about the project.

Is it a challenge to tell a story in the medium of the short film?

There’s less money and resources available for short films, and less time to tell a story. But these limitations can really sharpen how effective you are at telling it. When you’re faced with restrictions you instinctively look at how you can work a way around them, it helps you think outside of the box and use your creativity to show it the best possible way. This encourages experimentation, which can result in something truly amazing.

Every aspect of this film is a challenge; practical special effects and complex set design. But I wouldn’t be as passionate about making the film if it was easy. Challenges are always a plus with me.

CHAIN will also contain no dialogue. Was this a challenge storytelling wise?

Oddly enough, it was actually a lot easier. CHAIN is heavy on the visuals; we’re focusing on the monsters, traps and atmosphere rather than exposition and dialogue so when I scripted it, I concentrated more on the look of the sets and directing the action scenes than what our hero would say. CHAIN is a film that doesn’t need dialogue to get its point across, it’s all in what you see and how you perceive it.

You said that you are concentrating particularly on sound design and art direction. Can you elaborate?

It’s the primary focus for the film; the sets need to create mood, the creatures need to scare, and the sound needs to create intrigue. Every prop and every scare has been designed with a purpose; to challenge and horrify our audience and to encourage them to draw some of their own conclusions about the story.

You also said that CHAIN will focus more on the ‘bare components’ of horror rather than many of its recent trends?

It’s all down to atmosphere and setting really. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great films for the modern horror fan but there is a lack of films in the genre that take the time and effort to create a world before stripping it down and revealing the terror waiting on the other side. CHAIN uses the bare elements of horror; sound, visuals and reactions. If you can make a well-received horror film based on these components, you can be pretty unique in a genre that’s currently saturated in found footage films, zombie romps and horror comedies.

Why the title CHAIN?

I can’t say for fear of revealing a spoiler, sorry. It’ll make sense when you see the film.

Are you hoping to enter the film into festivals?

We’re wrapping up our Indiegogo campaign and looking into private investment at the moment but as soon as we’ve reached post production, we’ll be looking at showing CHAIN in as many festivals as we can. For any director hoping to make a film, the festival circuit should be a huge part of getting your project out there. We’re spoiled with how many festivals are out there at the moment and we want to cover a wide spectrum including Film 4 Frightfest, Raindance and small regional indie ones as well. I hope your readers are interested in CHAIN. They can follow CHAIN on Facebook and EQ Films on Twitter to keep up to date, and to find out how they can help support the film.

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Written by
Ash Hamilton is not only the owner of Horror-Fix.com, but also one of its major contributors. A long time horror movie enthusiast, Ash has lent his personality to radio and television and continues to support his favorite genre through his writing and art. He also loves beef jerky and puppies... and low-grade street-quality hallucinogens.

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