Before my conversation with writer-director Lori Evans Taylor, I sat down. I watched her soon-to-be-released horror film Bed Rest, starring Scream actress Melissa Barrera and Guy Burnet, and it hit me hard.
In the film, a Tubi Original, “After years of struggling to start a family, Julie Rivers (Barrera) is pregnant again and moving into a new home with her husband as they embrace a fresh start. Upon being ordered to mandatory bed rest, Julie slowly unravels as she suffers through the monotony and anxiety of her new constraints. Soon, terrifying ghostly experiences in the home begin to close in on Julie, stirring up her past demons and causing others to question her mental stability. Trapped and forced to face her past and the supernatural, Julie fights to protect herself and her unborn baby.”
I should also mention that Taylor is currently co-writing the upcoming Final Destination 6 movie. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the franchise that’s made millions of people avoid driving behind log trucks.
While yes, Bed Rest is full of intensity and scares, what struck me was how the real aspects of the film felt. Like it was personal. And it struck a chord with me that I think many women will identify with.
Kelli: “I watched Bed Rest and enjoyed it. We don’t get a lot of movies like that in the horror movie genre. It’s more female-driven, but it’s creepy as hell.”
Lori: “Thank you. We like creepy as hell [laughter].”
Kelli: “Yeah, that’s one of my favorite things too. [Laughter]. So how did this film come to be?”
Lori: “Oh, that’s a good question. It started about a decade ago. That’s when I first got the idea. I wrote it as a spec script, and it went out in 2015. During that time, spec scripts weren’t really selling, but my reps took it out, and it actually gained a lot of traction. It went out on a Tuesday, and by the end of the week, we had a preemptive deal with a major studio. I was very fortunate. But like a lot of movies in the studio system, it ended up in development and sitting on a shelf. Years later, the rights lapsed, and instead of re-optioning the script…. I decided to bet on myself as a filmmaker. I discussed it with my reps, and they were supportive.
“Around that time, Project X was forming. William Sherak, James Vanderbilt, and Paul Neinstein started their new company Project X. I’ve known them personally and professionally for many years. They’re great guys with a ton of experience. They found out Bed Rest was available and that I wanted to direct it, and ultimately, they championed me. I owe them a lot.”
Kelli: “Tell us about casting Barrera. She is fantastic in her role.”
Lori: “Melissa is a fantastic actress, and she gave one hell of a performance. The producers and I knew the role was a tough one because it demanded so much from an actress—both mental health issues and physical demands. The producers had just worked with Melissa on Scream. She read it; she loved it. We talked a lot over zoom, and she really understood the character. As a first-time filmmaker, I was so lucky on this project because not only was she incredibly talented, but she was willing to go to some very difficult emotional places. And not only that, but she was also a tremendous leader on set. She and our producer William Sherak really set the tone on set. It was a great atmosphere. Everybody bonded, and it felt like a family. Everybody did work hard and did have fun. I was very lucky.”
Kelli: “When people on set mesh well, it shows on the screen that chemistry. I have to say, during the film, I got a distinct impression that the story came from somewhere real. The pregnancy and loss aspect of the story hit really close to home, and it felt real and personal. If you don’t mind me asking, did it?”
Lori: “It was a very frightening experience. The ideas came from something that happened in my life. The first one was when I had my daughter. I was at home right after I started to get a little cabin fever. Mm. It felt like I was a shut-in. I started thinking about bedrest, and many of my friends had bedrest for an extensive time. I was lucky; I never got bedrest. But, uh, you know, the doctor said, Hey, take it easy, girl.
I was concerned about bedrest and what that does to you psychologically and thought, wow, that’s a great premise for a horror movie. Why hasn’t somebody done this already? And so that was the thought that started it all. The story I want to tell is the emotional story behind it, but I do love horror.”
The year before my daughter was 2011; we were pregnant with a baby boy. And everything was good and very healthy. But then in the 11th hour, uh, well, we had a stillbirth.”
Kelli: “Oh god, I am so very sorry.”
Lori: “Thank you. It was a life-changing event, you know, to have the ground that you walk on crumble so quickly and out of nowhere. It’s devastating. You know, I had to work through a lot of grief, as you can imagine. And, as I was working on Bed Rest, it became a way for me to work through my grief. And I think it’s a very particular kind of grief. When someone you know passes away, you can get together, and you can tell stories and reminisce about that person, really celebrate that person’s life. But with stillborns, nobody really knew that baby. Nobody knew that child. So it really is on the mother and, to a certain extent, the partner to carry on the memory of the child. And, so that’s something I wanted to explore and pair that emotional journey with the sort of horror and ghost story. Um, so yeah, you know, it’s a way for me to put my grief process.”
Kelli: “I’m so sorry you experienced that. I understand to a certain extent. And I’ve… since we’re getting really personal here… I’ve experienced several miscarriages, and while that’s, you know, not as heart-wrenching as losing the child the way you did, I could feel that character’s pain. Just the thought of losing a child is horrific all on its own. And that’s before you add the spooky stuff in the film. The way you wrote that pain really got to me. I think that’s a sign of a good movie when it makes you feel something. ”
Lori: “Well, I’m very sorry that you experienced that. And you know, I have to say, like with the horror genre, I think there aren’t a lot of female-based stories and female-based characters who go through things like this on screen. I think lately, in the past five to 10 years, women have been more willing to tell their stories and come forward with those feelings of loss. And I, and you know, that’s what I love about the horror genre is that you can get at these personal things without being so on the nose. It is the drama and the audience dynamic, but it also helps have an emotional core to it as well. Right? Thank you for watching it and responding to that because I know it can also be very triggering. And so hopefully it’s, it starts the conversation.”
Kelli: “Yeah. I mean, it is something that women still don’t talk about often enough, like the subject is taboo in culture, but it should be discussed. We shouldn’t feel like it is a burden we should carry alone. Hopefully, Bed Rest will help open the door to a place where we can openly feel that grief.”
Kelli: “When you add paranormal events experienced by a woman filled with hormones, like in the film, it takes things to a whole other level. I like that you included ghosts and the sounds that build the tension, a baby crying and whispering. And the paranoia added in makes things wild.”
Lori: “Yeah. I think it’s fun and the horror of being stuck in someplace. You only have a certain amount of perspective. You can only hear or see so much, so it’s a lot about you filling in the blanks.”
Kelli: “Barrera, she nails it; the look of fear on her face, you know, was enough to make me go, well, shit, here it comes [laughter].
Lori: “See, that’s what we wanna be going for. ‘Well, shit [laughter].”
Kelli: “That’s a good thing. The house itself is almost like a character. Do you know what I mean? Was that done on purpose?”
Lori: “Yeah, absolutely. Well, that was one of the things that were very important to me, finding the house, because the house was a character. It represents this perfect life, but it has a past too. It was really a challenge to find a house. And it was originally written as a lake house, and we did some cheating; there is a lake there. But you know, to find a house that Julie would be drawn to and to know, hey, this is where we’re gonna have a family, and it represents that positive fresh start at the same time, it has its own dark past. And so visually, we see new sunshine. And then, you know, the snow starts to come in, and it gets darker, and there’s impresses weather, and it feels very different.”
Kelli: “It starts out as a beautiful thing with the family and hope and all that. But then, it begins to feel like a prison to me.”
Lori: “That’s what we were going for. Yeah. That the house represents all these possibilities, and yet the room becomes a prison, a box, and that’s the bed too. That’s part of what my production designer, Marian Wihak, was always thinking about, how to make it claustrophobic.”
Kelli: “Well, ya’ll nail it. It’s an intense thing to watch. Her husband seems to be lost on what to do. But men often handle those things differently than women, loss, pregnancy.”
Lori: “I think people grieve differently. Daniel experienced things differently. He’s trying to help them move forward. So they went through something as a couple. That isn’t very good. And not only that, his wife went through a lot in terms of mental health after that. And he wants to provide this new life for them, a fresh start for them. So he is geared toward moving forward, don’t look at the past. And you know, he thinks that’s what’s best for him. That’s the thing about grief, you kind of get to a crossroads with that. Grief can kind of pull down or empower you in a way.”
Kelli: “Right. And I love the babysitter character who’s creepy, and you don’t know why she’s there. And that adds another layer of psychological horror, that paranoia.”
Lori: “Yeah. And that’s what’s fun about the movie. I wanted the audience to feel like we were not quite sure what was happening. Is it all in her head? Should we be worried about this doula or not? She could ride that line between somebody who could be trustworthy or not. But yeah, she seemed a little suspicious and, you know, casting, some people would be too responsible, or they would be too, um, vicious and or too harsh. And then we found Edie Inksetter, who is perfect.”
Kelli: “The release is coming up soon. What are you feeling? Are you nervous? Are you excited?”
Lori: “Uh, you know, all of the above. I’m nervous, but I’ve been living with this for a long time. I’m just so excited it’s getting out there that it, and it’s on a platform excited about it, Tubi.”
Kelli: “It’s premiering as a Tubi Original, right?” Congratulations. I love Tubi. Let me tell you.”
Lori: “I just know they got a great catalog of both movies, shows, and original stuff.”
Kelli: “They have over 10,000 horror movies. That blows me away.”
Okay, I know you’re writing the new Final Destination movie. Is there anything you can tell us?
Lori: “I’m sorry, I can’t.”
Kelli: “I understand, but you can’t blame a girl for trying.”
Lori: “I will say this, it’s something fresh for the franchise.”
Kelli: “I can’t wait. I love the franchise. To this day, I refuse to ride behind a log truck.”
Lori: “I hear that a lot.”
I can’t express how much I appreciate Lori sharing her story and heartbreak with us, which you can feel in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, while the story has very emotional aspects; it is a horror film filled with tension, suspense, paranoia, and more. I would definitely recommend Best Rest on Tubi!
To stay up to date on what Lori Evans Taylor is working on, be sure to follow her on Instagram. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about Final Destination.