Fantasia ’14: Exclusive photo/comments from “FINAL DESTINATION” creator’s short chiller “GOOD SAMARITAN”
Jeffrey Reddick, the screenwriter who created FINAL DESTINATION, has turned director with a haunting short called GOOD SAMARITAN, which world-premiered at this summer’s Fantasia festival in Montreal. Read on for an exclusive pic and words from Reddick.
GOOD SAMARITAN, which played before Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s AMONG THE LIVING at Fantasia, is synopsized thusly: “Nathan [Toby Hemingway, pictured below, from BLACK SWAN and THE COVENANT], an agoraphobic, videotapes a man getting fatally beaten while bystanders watch and don’t intervene. After a conservative TV pundit, George Reed [HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES’ Rainn Wilson] blasts him for his inaction, Nathan finds himself haunted. But is it his own guilt tormenting him, or something more insidious?”
“I set out to create an old-school, creepy haunted-house short,” Reddick, who also scripted TAMARA and others, tells Fango. “The thing I love about horror is that you can tell so many types of stories. Just as FINAL DESTINATION reiterated the idea that you can’t cheat death, I want GOOD SAMARITAN to have people thinking twice about not helping someone in need.
“Since this was my first [directorial] project,” he continues, “I knew I had to surround myself with talented people who got what I wanted to achieve.” And he did, with NEVER SLEEP AGAIN’s Thommy Hutson coming aboard as producer, JUG FACE’s Chris Heinrich serving as cinematographer, THE ECHO GAME director Brian Feeney editing and Chris Lott doing the score. “The shoot was two and a half days, and it was exhausting. But everyone was there for passion, not profit, and honestly, the film wouldn’t be what it is without the crew.”
When it came to the cast, “Finding a lead who could hold the screen without much dialogue was key,” Reddick notes. “Thank God we found Toby Hemingway. He’s a huge horror fan, so we connected immediately. He looks intense and is serious about his work, but he brings a vulnerability to the role that makes the character sympathetic. Casting against type is why Rainn Wilson plays a combative TV pundit; he’s great in serious roles and really sets the tone of the short. And the geek in me is so proud we got Jane Badler, the evil alien Diana from ‘V,’ to shoot a cameo from Australia. I was a fanatical fan of the original ‘V’ miniseries, and Diana is one of my favorite characters of all time. I met Jane, and she’s so nice and gracious. I was thrilled when she came on board.”
And yes, “There is a GOOD SAMARITAN feature in the works,” Reddick reveals. “I developed the script with Wendy Rhoads from THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, and producer Andrew van den Houten [THE WOMAN, JUG FACE], who’s a Tasmanian devil of creativity and energy, and I are working hard to get it off the ground.”
Reddick was thrilled to see GOOD SAMARITAN premiere at Fantasia (“Mitch Davis and his team were great”), and he’s looking forward to the short’s continuing festival tour; it just had its U.S. premiere at Los Angeles’ HollyShorts Film Festival, and will play LA’s Screamfest in October. You can read more about GOOD SAMARITAN at its Facebook page.