Darren Lynn Bousman, the horror heavy hitter behind films like Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Tales of Halloween, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and other frightening flicks, sat down with me to discuss his new film Death of Me as well as his new highly anticipated installment of the Saw franchise, Spiral, out in theaters next year.
Death of Me follows a woman visiting an island off of Thailand with her photographer husband, played by Luke Hemsworth. After a night of celebrating the couple wakeup in their room with a huge gap of time missing from their memory of the night before. Upon discovering a terrifying video on her husband’s camera Christine’s (Maggie Q) world spirals into a nightmare filled with horrors and mysterious traditions.
Horror Fuel: “I’m a big fan of your movies, especially Repo. It is brilliant!”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “Oh, thank you very much!”
Horror Fuel: “A few days ago I watched your new movie Death of Me. I found it really interesting and different, which is a good thing in my book.”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “I always try to do something different with every movie I’ve done and every musical I’ve done. So, with it, I tried to do something different yet again.”
Horror Fuel: “I really like it. And the way you transition between color and tone when in different worlds, is clever.”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “Yeah, definitely.”
Horror Fuel: “What made you go this particular route, this location, and this culture?”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “When we got a hold of the script, it was very different. It dealt with voodoo, which I felt we had seen before. It had a lot of voodoo dolls and all that and the first thing I wanted to do was to do away with all that. We changed a big part of the movie. We were going back between Hawaii and Thailand. We dove into legend and old history to find out where we could base the story. There was a passage that one of our producers found in an old book about the most frightening thing. In the book, it talked about this tradition from hundreds and hundreds of years ago where the town elders would sacrifice and bury people in the center of town, sacrifice them to the town. The idea was that maybe they were buried alive and that the sacrifices would help protect the town, protect it from bad spirits, and ill will. Years have passed since then. There’s no longer anyone who practices it, I hope. It talks about when digging them up they would find bones, bones of pregnant women, and children. It was terrifying. So we based the story around that idea. I always find belief in religion fascinating, in fact, in sacrifice, you back to the earliest religions and sacrifice is a major part of it. Go back to Christianity, sacrifice was a major part of it. It obviously happened a long time ago. We found the seed for an idea and then we put our own spin on it, exaggerated a bit, and we came up with the mythology.”
Horror Fuel: “That’s fascinating. I’m always interested in history. I have never heard of that, so thank you for teaching me something new.
I have to say Maggie Q really delivered in her role as Christine. The way she got across her emotions was great.”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “Something that was very important to me was the cast. It was critical. One of the first things I did was make sure the cast made sense for the movie. For Christine, I wanted someone who was strong and defiant. Maggie would not play the victim. Q is a strong-willed person. The next that was really important was Amanda, played by Alex. She’s very manipulating. She’s the one who owns the Air BNB. It was important for me that she be a westerner because I wanted to show an island transplant, that people come from all over. That’s one of the things that is hinted at throughout the movie. At one point she says something like, “No Christine, we come from all different places.” I wanted it to show that it wasn’t a singular nationality or race. It’s full of different people from different places. You see it with her and the guy behind the bar at the beach cafe. The casting was something that weighed on us a lot.”
Horror Fuel: “They all did a fantastic job. But I want to ask, how did you go about capturing the vulnerability of a woman in that situation without making her look weak? Which was nicely accomplished by the way.”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “I think, in part, it’s because Q is such a badass in real life. She wanted to approach every scene as not being a crying, whimpering person. The way she would throw open doors, the way she would get in people’s faces and basically say, ‘Fuck you. You’re lying.’ I like that. You have so much on the line, so much crazy shit happening, you are going to demand answers. She just took over.”
Horror Fuel: “You also have another film coming out, Spiral, which I’m really super excited about. What can fans of the Saw franchise will love about Spiral?”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “You’ve got Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson who are powerhouses. It’s intense and it’s great! It’s scary and it’s a thriller. What I love about it the most is that I think it will reinvent the franchise. It’s not the same movie you’ve seen eight times before thanks to Chris Rock who has been overseeing it. It has all of the things you love about Saw, but taking them in a new direction.”
Horror Fuel: “Fantastic! I can’t wait to see it, plus I’m a huge Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson fan! Who doesn’t love Samuel L. Jackson?”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “I’m a fan as well.”
Horror Fuel: “The trailer looks great. And it really made me want to see it, I just hate that the release got pushed back.”
Darren Lynn Bousman: “Me too. But I’m really excited that we will get to see it someday.”
Stay updated update on all Darren Lynn Bousman’s projects by following him on Twitter. Speaking of projects, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to Spiral (trailer below). The bad news, the release got delayed but it will open in theaters on May 21, 2021. The good news? It’s going to be worth the wait. In the meantime, Death of Me‘s release is right around the corner. It lands in theaters, On Demand and on Digital, on October 2, 2020, from Saban Films. Check it out!