By MICHAEL GINGOLD
A first-time filmmaking team has completed a horror feature that, based on the trailer, looks like a stylishly eerie experience. Check out that preview and the poster, plus some exclusive pics and words from the director and producer, past the jump.
Directed by Clayton Witmer from a script he wrote with Chelsey Cummings, and produced by Clay Giles and Mike Samilow, THE ARBORS stars Drew Matthews, Ryan Davenport, Sarah Cochrane, Daryl Munroe, Lexi Rose and Brooks Addis. The synopsis: “Ethan Daunes [Matthews] avoids human interaction by busying his nights with work and sleeping away as much of the day as possible. He longs to reconnect with his now distant younger brother, Shane [Davenport], who has happily settled down with a family of his own. Working late one night, Ethan finds a strange, insect-like creature. Morbidly fascinated, he decides to take it home, locking it away in his shed. The creature soon begins to grow in size and, after a fatal incident, escapes. Racked with guilt, Ethan watches as the town is plagued with mysterious deaths, fearing that he is at fault. Realizing that all the deaths are connected to him in some way, he decides he must stop the creature before it hurts the ones he cares about the most.”
“THE ARBORS was the culmination of our team’s efforts after four years of collaborating on short films in school,” Witmer tells RUE MORGUE. “After graduating, we wanted to prove we could make a real feature film on our own with the limited resources we had available. I am most drawn to small human stories amidst larger-than-life situations, so I decided the film would be a human drama with heightened sci-fi elements throughout.”
Samilow seconds that ambition. “We went into THE ARBORS hoping to tell the best story possible, using a sci-fi element as the catalyst,” he says. “We studied sci-fi films that are grounded in contemporary settings—TAKE SHELTER, ENEMY, PRIMER, COHERENCE, MONSTER—and used those as a North Star. Our big takeaway was that those movies didn’t let the sci-fi factors overshadow the stories, but used them as a way to enhance the themes of the films and provide better payoffs at the end.”
“Being an independent project,” Witmer adds, “a lot of the production and postproduction process involved figuring everything out as we went along. THE ARBORS ultimately took four years to complete. I hope our audience will feel a sense of suspense and dread while watching this film, and be left with a lot to think about once it’s over.”
You can keep up with THE ARBORS at its Facebook page.