Martin Owen | LET'S BE EVIL

PrintE-mail Written by John Higgins

STARBURST chats to director Martin Owen about his latest horror film Let’s Be Evil, which has been likened to the classic film Village of the Damned.

STARBURST: You have worn a number of hats in your career now. Do you prefer behind the camera to being in front of it?

Martin Owen: Definitely behind the camera. I get creative freedom to do what I want to do. Acting was never really my ambition

What was the shooting schedule on Let’s Be Evil?

Six weeks.

Are you an avid follower of social media and how important is it in terms of getting films off the ground, given schemes like crowd-funding schemes like Kickstarter?

I am not really a social media fan, but there are benefits when trying to get a film going and it does have an influence.

You have now collaborated with Elizabeth Morris on writing on this film and others. What is the best thing about working with her in a script and what is your key strength as a filmmaker?

Film is a collaborative process and we do work at creating an effective screenplay to shoot.

What were your influences for this film?

John Carpenter in terms of his style and visual content. Trainspotting was also a big influence and made me want to make movies after I saw that the first time.

Are you planning to stay in the UK for films, or have you been approached for any major projects in the USA?

My next project, Kung Fu Princess, is going to be shot in the USA. It’s a family action movie.

Is there a particular genre you’d like to work in that you haven’t done before?

I would love to do a stripped down character drama, more as a challenge to myself.

Going back to your shooting style on Let’s Be Evil – did you rehearse with the cast and crew when planning the film and did you rely on storyboards?

The way it was shot was a very organic way and was very difficult to storyboard.

Augmented reality and the effect it has on these children in the film is the through line of the story in Let’s Be Evil. The effect of technology and how it is dividing, rather than uniting humanity is also a theme. Where do you feel things could be improved in the world with technology of this nature?

There seems to be an over-reliance on technology, a feeling that the more it works, the less it helps. Also, with the advent of children getting IPads for example, they are not really engaging their imaginations as much.

How has the film been received so far on the horror festival circuit and where is it getting the best reaction?

It’s not really that type of a horror film. Often, the reaction does change from when you watch it on a laptop to when you watch it on a big screen. The scares in this film are more psychological and more down a rabbit hole so to speak.

Horror often reflects the times we live in, but some of the earlier classics do find themselves of their time, thus dating their essence such as the Hammer films of the 20th Century. Which filmmaker’s work in the horror genre do you admire?

I liked It Follows recently. I am not a great fan of gratuitous gore as it doesn’t scare. It Follows generates an atmosphere and involves you as an audience.

Finally, is there a particular project you have in development that you feel would be perfect for the big screen?

Kung Fu Princess is one of those projects – a unique take on a credible genre.

Let’s Be Evil is out now on VOD.

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