- RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Robert Hamilton, Marco V. Scola
- DIRECTED BY: Robert Hamilton
- STARRING: Phil Amico, Nick Apostolides, Regen Wilso
Given as how my misspent youth was played out in the ass-end of nowhere; I’ve always felt a special kind of warm and fuzzy when I plop down and watch a rural set fright flick. Well that brings us to the subject of this here revoltin’ review; THE SUFFERING…a terror tale set on a farm that would have fit right in around my (broken) neck of the woods (psychos and all unfortunately).
Things start to get rather strange rather fast for property appraiser Henry Dawles (Apostolides) when he takes an offer from the enigmatic Mr. Remiel (Amico) to asses a remote rural farm situated on a sprawling piece of land that he is the caretaker of. Surrounded on all sides by creeptastic servants, strange creatures, and the ever increasing hidden secrets the house contains; Henry finds himself in a never ending spiral of inexplicable events that will lay bare his very soul.
THE SUFFERING fits in nicely with the great metaphysical fright flicks of the 1970’s as it’s tonally an antecedent to films like THE SENTINEL crossed with insanity laden haunted house yarns of the same era such as BURNT OFFERINGS. You get your gothic property with a storied, possibly supernatural past, your crisis of an otherworldly quasi-spiritual nature, and your oppressive creeping dread building up over a nice slow burn with a palpable dreary atmosphere that really sets the mood perfectly.
The one negative I can point out with THE SUFFERING is that the story deals with religious overtones (and not just of one faith), and that may alienate some viewers that don’t cotton to that mindset; but in all honesty it isn’t oppressive or preachy in anyway; it’s just an element of the over-all story (and this is coming from one of the most non-religious dudes you will ever speak to).
I highly recommend THE SUFFERING; especially if you dig on those pesky ‘70’s flicks I incessantly ramble on about to anyone within earshot, or terror tales that rely more on weird characters and atmosphere above the ol’ blood n’ guts routine!
Recently I had a chance to chew the ol’ fat with Rob Hamilton; the die-rector of the fright flick I conveniently reviewed above; THE SUFFERING! Feast your putrid peepers on that convo below!
Daniel XIII. Please tell my faithful fiends a bit about how you developed the terror tale that is THE SUFFERING.
ROB HAMILTON. We began with writing for a specific location. We had an incredible farm in Maryland at our disposal and we wanted to milk it for all the character and history it provided. A hundred years of buildings and items that you’d never find anywhere else. Around the same time I was reading a many (and I mean many many) year old text that I thought would be the perfect inspiration for a horror film. I pitched the idea to Marco [my co-writer and producer] and he loved it. Five months later we had a script ready for production.
XIII. What challenges did you face shooting THE SUFFERING?
RH. I think one of the greatest challenges to any independent filmmaker is telling the story you want to tell with little money and a very short production schedule. Time is money and there’s never enough money. You have to write with a certain understanding of what it takes to produce a particular scene or sequence. If we wrote the most amazing plane crash of all time that’s terrific on paper but when it comes down to shooting it – it’s an impossibility on our budget. In short, know your limitations and use them to spawn creativity. Otherwise you have great ideas and a sh–ty final product.
XIII. How difficult was it to balance the metaphysical and horror elements of the story?
RH. I think that was the most difficult aspect of the entire process. We set out to make a specific type of horror film. Slow burning, methodical, and mysterious. Modern audiences want to be entertained, not challenged. We wanted to do both, and do it in a way that could still attract people of all ages to the film. It’s not a simple task but we think we’ve accomplished it. Time will tell.
XIII. THE SUFFERING reminded me tonally of the great fright flicks of the 1970’s; in particular films such as THE SENTINEL and BURNT OFFERINGS. Were those films, or those like them an influence on the film and what are some of your favorite films in the genre?
RH. Absolutely. We set out to make a 70s era haunted house film for a contemporary audience. In the age of YouTube that’s quite the challenge within itself. Our biggest influence was probably THE SHINING. Not the story necessarily but the way it unfolded and the way it made you feel. There are very few (if any) jump scares in that film but there are plenty of scenes that will stick with you forever. It’s presented with a certain tone from minute one and that’s what we wanted to accomplish – always have the audience equally parts curious and uneasy. My ‘favorite films in the genre’ is always the hardest question to answer. Of course I love THE EXORCIST. Not simply for how utterly horrifying it is but also how it’s an amazingly patient dramatic film about a mother and daughter. If you remember there’s not a true scare moment until almost an hour into the film and it’s still captivating. Other films in no particular order would be THE RING, THE OMEN (1976), THE SHINING, THE BABADOOK, THE CHANGELING (1980) LET ME IN (yes I know it’s a remake and I love the original too), THE OTHERS, and SEVEN (otherwise known as the greatest film ever made.)
XIII. What projects are you working on next; and where can we follow you online?
RH. I’m in the early stages of preproduction on a more contemporary horror film called, EARWORM. I wanted to challenge myself to make something directed at a modern audience yet also tell a dramatic story with three dimensional characters. We plan to go into production in the spring of 2017. Here’s the logline: Confined with her invalid father for the weekend, a college student listens to an old vinyl record and unwittingly unleashes a vengeful ghost hellbent on driving her to madness. We like to pitch it as the THE RING meets THE BABADOOK. I just recently launched my own production company called Captureglass Pictures so you can follow our work at http://www.captureglass.com. You can also keep yourself up to date with all SUFFERING related news at http://www.thesufferingfilm.com or follow us on Facebook.
XIII. Fangs Rob; feel free to drop by the ol’ Crypt o’ XIII anytime!