Unrestricted Views from Richard Rowntree Director of Nefarious

Returning to make the Halloween period all the more petrifying the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival is back running from the 28th October to the 3rd November, and so is our Unrestricted Views bringing you an insight to the people behind the fantastic fright fest of films on show.

Tell us about your film?
“Nefarious” is a home invasion horror/thriller with a grindhouse edge to it. The film centres on four young people from the wrong side of the tracks, who find themselves in a difficult position when a debt to their local drug dealer is called in at short notice. They devise a plan to rob the house of a guy and his disabled brother who have recently won money on a scratch-card, but it all goes horribly wrong for them. We shot the film in late 2018 and it’s been doing really well on the festival circuit, with 10 awards at the first three fests we’ve played, including 3 for best horror feature. It was a lot of fun to make and very different from our first film, “Dogged”.

How did you get into making horror movies?
I’ve worked in the film industry for about 20 years, and decided in 2015 that it was high time I started to make my own films. We did some shorts which got good reviews before embarking on our first feature film, and were buoyed by the success it had. On a personal level, I love horror, and have done since I started watching it way too young (like most horror filmmakers!) – I love how it can evoke such emotion in an audience. I’m very passionate about telling universal stories through the medium of horror, and always have a relevant social message I’m trying to get across.

What is your view on horror in 2019 and how would you change it?
I think we’re going through a period of some great horror films and fresh new voices making them – but I also think it’s such a difficult time for any smaller films to get theatrical releases that I fear for the genre in a lot of ways. The rise of the VOD culture makes for a pretty homogenised marketplace, and it’s getting harder for audiences to see some of the great horror being made. That’s why I think film festivals are so important in bringing these now voices in horror to an audience.

What is your favourite horror film and why?
It’s a tough question, but I think I have to say The Shining. The atmosphere that permeates that film is chilling, even when you’ve seen it 100 times. It doesn’t offer cheap jump scares or booming subs telling you when to be scared – you’re scared throughout, just because of how uncomfortable the whole thing is.

If Hollywood came knocking and gave you anything you wanted what movie would you make and who would it star?
I have a script I would love to make, but it would be relatively big budget. It’s the story of a woman who’s suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, coupled with a recent split from her husband – and she’s institutionalised at a psychiatric hospital. She befriends a guy who is trying to convince her that all is not as it seems, but in her mental state she can’t work out what’s real and what isn’t. At its’ core, it’s about mental health struggles and how society marginalises people who suffer with them. Someone like Christina Applegate would suit the lead role if money was no object, maybe with Robert Downey Jr as the antagonist. So if you have a spare $100m knocking about, let me know…!

Nefarious plays at the  Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival which runs 28th October to the 3rd November. Click the link for info and tickets.

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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