Tyro filmmaker Anubys Lopez has crafted the terrifically unnerving Those Who Call, releasing from Uncork’d Entertainment on January 10, 2023.
The film, starring Angie Sandoval, Yetlanezi Rodriguez, Reese Fast, Kevin Kinkade, and Addison Cousins, tells of two sisters that go on a road trip to Colorado. On their way there, their car breaks down in an abandoned old town. Soon they realize things aren’t what they seem, and they aren’t alone in the forest. They find themselves being hunted by a sadistic pagan cult and must do everything in their power to survive.
Ella: “Thanks for the unnerving scares – – unnerving. Is there any other way to describe the film?”
Anubys: “I appreciate you taking the time to watch it. Unnerving is definitely a good way to describe it. I’d say other ways would be distressing and claustrophobic. We wanted people to feel trapped
and stalked throughout the entire film. In a constant state of fear. Like anything could happen at any time, and there was nowhere for them to go.”
Ella: “How would you sum up the film?”
Anubys: “It’s a story about the troubled relationship of two sisters who are trying their best to reconnect and reconcile but, unfortunately, chose the wrong place and time to do so.”
Ella: “It’s obviously original but also wears its homages on its sleeve – what films influenced ya?”
Anubys: “There’s been a few films that have influenced Those Who Call. Definitely The Witch by Robert Eggers. I liked the atmosphere from that film and the sense of isolation. Those Who Call also utilizes the same feel with the score and theme. Also, the good ol’ German story Hansel and Gretel, in which two siblings get lost in the woods; last but not least the film The Ritual by David Bruckner where a group of friends get lost in a forest and feel “hunted” and watched by something.
Ella: “Was that the appeal for you in telling this story?”
Anubys: “Absolutely! The appeal was to make people feel uncomfortable and uneasy. The next time they stop by a small town, get low on gas in the middle of nowhere, or get too deep in the woods, they will definitely remember the film!”
Ella: “It reminded me a bit of Children of the Corn…?”
Anubys: “I can definitely see that! Especially with the cross and the creepy kids. Children of the Corn is a masterpiece. Definitely enjoy that film.”
Ella: “How did you find your cast?”
Anubys: “We used Backstage as well as local Facebook groups. Houston has an incredible amount of amazing actors and we received over five hundred auditions for each role. It was quite the process. We sat through every single audition, paired them up, watched them several times, and ultimately came up with the perfect pair. We eventually had our top choices come in for in-person auditions and Angie & Yetlanezi were the perfect fit!”
Ella: “Was it shot during the pandemic?”
Anubys: “Yes! The film was shot in 2020. It made it extra difficult because we couldn’t have a big crew. We had a total of seven people taking care of everything, which meant we each had to do two or three tasks at once. It was also difficult having everyone be in the same place since we didn’t want anyone getting sick. We even had some crew members back out at the last minute because they had concerns regarding other members’ health status. We had to constantly test everyone. The good part about it is that most of the film took place outdoors in the forest, so that helped lower the chances of anyone contracting COVID-19. When we had the big reveal scene at the end there were a total of 30+ extras involved. That was also very difficult to keep track of. We had to have everyone tested in order to keep everyone safe. In fact, halfway through the film, we had to take a week off because we had someone with symptoms. Turned out to be a common flu, but it did halt production and set us back a bit. Better safe than sorry, though!”
Ella: “Was it hard to get a release during the pandemic? Did it change things?”
Anubys: “It changed everything! The industry was going over a massive change at the time and all we could do was wait. We even had to cancel our premiere because of COVID. After we sold out the theater, we had to refund everything back due to the second lockdown. We couldn’t even get into the festivals! We ended up premiering online with an online film festival. As you can tell, it took us a while to get things going and get a release date from a reputable distributor. But here we are!”
Ella: “What’s next for you?”
Anubys: “We just shot another feature this year titled Aged. It stars Morgan Boss Maltais, Carla Kidd, Dave McClain – the cult leader from Those Who Call! – and Bria Daguanno. It’s actually going to be streaming later this year, around April, so keep an eye out for that!