Directed by Marc Meyers (Human Capital, My Friend Dahmer), We Summon the Darkness is a horror movie set against a backdrop where a dangerous satanic cult is known to be actively committing a killing spree. Three teenage girls (Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth) attend a heavy-metal show and invite three guys from the rock concert back to their place for the afterparty. Marc Meyers recently told Borrowing Tape about his work directing the horror flick WSTD released by Saban Films, which is now available to buy and stream On Digital and VOD.
Photo courtesy of Saban Films
How were you approached to direct We Summon the Darkness, and how long was filming?
After My Friend Dahmer, the producers sent us Alan Trezza’s screenplay. My producing partner Jody Girgenti and I both read it immediately, and we both laughed out loud. It was a very fun read. Filming was up in Winnipeg, Canada in September 2018. We filmed for 16 days.
What was the casting process like for We Summon The Darkness?
Thorough. Our Casting Director Michelle Lewitt worked tirelessly to connect us with lots of great actors to consider. I met with and considered lots of actors for many of the roles. Alexandra Daddario was the first to sign on. And then I was looking for other talented actresses who were distinctively different and could bring their own unique energy to the roles of Val and Bev. I’m so glad that Alex, Maddie, and Amy totally hit it off. I knew Logan Miller from previous casting sessions and I’m a big fan of his work. He was the first guy I approached to play Kovacs. Producer Jarod Einsohn introduced me to Keean Johnson for Mark. And Austin Swift joined us closer to beginning of filming. Around the same time, Johnny Knoxville signed on.
What were your favorite and most challenging scenes to direct for We Summon the Darkness?
I loved filming the whole thing. It was hard because of the tight schedule. But there was something fun and/or high energy in every scene, and often a way to make each scene have a pulpy or vibrant quality. It always felt like the actors and my amazing cinematographer Tarin Anderson and the crew and I were all on the same page. It was lots of fun to film the heavy metal parking lot scenes with lots of extras — all dressed in 80s heavy metal attire. We played a lot of hard rock between setups to keep the energy up. The hardest scenes to film were set in the master bedroom. There are a few fight sequences involving an array of characters — Alex, Mark, Pastor John Henry, and Bev — who all collide in that room where the story starts to culminate. Lots of technical filmmaking to capture all the angles necessary for those knife fights, the choking, et cetera. And we had to block-shoot it over the course of a few days based on scheduling.
Photo courtesy of Saban Films
How did you find working with cinematographer Tarin Anderson to create the visual aesthetic?
The best experience. She’s tremendous. And the nicest person too. I adore Tarin. We had a lot of time during prep to sit together and shot list. Since most of the film was set around this one big house, once that was locked in place, we didn’t get caught spending many days stuck in a location van scouting, and that gave us the time to sit at our favorite coffee shop in Winnipeg and talk out all the sequences. I was interested in always keeping the camera moving, seeking out ‘pulpy’ camera angles wherever possible, and always making it first & foremost about the characters.
What films/directors have had the biggest impact on your filmmaking and why?
Each time I set out to do a film, I gravitate to different movies and filmmakers who are like guideposts for me. With We Summon The Darkness, I looked to A Clockwork Orange, Reservoir Dogs, Panic Room, and Dazed and Confused, among other films from other landmark filmmakers I admire. But by the time pre-production started, and you start planning the film beyond the hypothetical, for the reality, I tend to put those references aside and start figuring out how to best use the resources I have on the production.
What's next for you?
I’m on hiatus right now from post-production on a new movie called All My Life, starring Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum, Jr. And developing several new projects during this unique time I have at home with my family.