Trespassers Australian Horror Film

By Mikel Fair

We had an opportunity to catch up with director of hottest independent short horror films on YouTube and Film Festival Circuit coming out of Australia, Trespassers, which screened at Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival Winter 2019. This film was nominated for the Best International Film Award. Due to fan requests, the film was screened for a second time at Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival Fall 2020.

 

Synopsis:

"Ben and Lucy are siblings who are travelling interstate to visit their parents. When their car breaks down on a desolate rural road, they are forced to seek help at a nearby farming estate. Cut off from the outside world, they soon make a terrible discovery..."

 

Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival 2020 Trespassers 1 w1200

Director's Statement:
When I started this project, I was seeking to create a film that I would want to watch myself. I grew up on horror, and have always been intrigued by the staples of the genre. Naturally, it would be where I would begin my early attempts at film making.

By now the slasher and exploitation sub genres have faded into obscurity, giving way to a wave of new supernatural horror films. Although I get a kick out of them too, I do miss the former. I don’t believe in ghosts or malevolent creatures, so they don’t frighten me like the very real evil that happens in everyday life; home invasions, murder, sexual assault etc.

So after working my way through film school, producing a myriad of mediocre short films, it was time to revisit the “so terrifying, it could be true” films, and pay homage to the one that started it all for me - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I’m not talking about the original though. Although it too has a special place in my heart, it just wasn’t my generation’s fright flick. I’m talking about the dark, stylish 2003 edition, directed by Marcus Nispel. It’s the film that began my love affair with mystery, terror, shock, gore, etc. And it’s the film that ‘Trespassers’ takes it’s visual cues from.

This project was very exciting to work on, because not only does it pay homage to films that I love, it does so by exploring a real, terrifying issue in modern society; an issue which lends itself to the genre well.

What sets it apart from the rest, is that we’ve strived to create tension in wide open spaces in broad daylight; using Australia’s searing landscape as our backdrop. This is something that hasn’t really been done since 2005’s ‘Wolf Creek,’ and I think the audience are going to respond to it well.

We’ve assembled a great cast and crew, who have all experienced the joys and challenges that came along with production. The results have been both rewarding and humbling, and I’m proud to call each member of the team a friend. I have always fostered dreams of being a Director, and I believe that ‘Trespassers’ is a great stepping stone towards an exciting career in film.

Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival Shirts

Interview with Director Jayden Creighton

1. What or who were some of your artistic inspirations for Trespassers?


Oh, so many. Stylistically, the film pays a big debt to ‘Wolf Creek’ and the 2003 interpretation of the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ which were two of my staples growing up. There’s little nods to a lot of films I like if you dig deep; everything from ‘Jeepers Creepers’ to ‘Don’t Breathe.’ It even serves as kind of a modern take on 70s exploitation films.

I never set out to reinvent the genre when we made the film, all I wanted to do was make something I would want to watch myself. So chances are if there’s a decent horror movie that came out while I was in my teens, parts of it might have subconsciously found it’s way into the script.

 

Oregon Scream Week-2020-Trespassers 2

2. I absolutely love the premise of Trespassers and thought it was developed really well. In what ways would you further expound upon it's plot and its themes in a feature length adaptation?


Thank you so much. There’s definitely some plot points we’d like to expand on in a feature length adaptation. The short film centres on sex trafficking, but we couldn’t go into much detail within the time constraints. The feature would crack that door wide open.


We’d also love to give the trio of main characters a little more backstory and maybe throw a bit more of a survival horror spin on it. I can’t go into too much detail, but there’s some shades of ‘Eden Lake’ in the script for the feature.

 

Oregon Scream Week-2020-Tresspassers


3. Do you have any plans for future projects that aren't related to Trespassers?


We actually put together a short horror film called ‘Kinks’ at the start of the year, but we haven’t been able to take a deep dive into post sound yet due to the Corona Virus outbreak.


It’s kind of like if ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and ‘Hostel’ had a love child. But it’s really colourful, campy and fun, like an eighty’s slasher. The teaser link is below if you want to check it out:

 


I also have one more short in mind before we kick off the Trespassers feature, but we’ll wait and see if I can afford to fund that one. Sadly, it all comes down to money.

 

Trespassers Screenshot 01


4. How long from pre-production until the end of post-production did it take to complete the film?


I think I wrote the script in June 2018. We shot in September, and the film was entered into it’s first festival in February last year. So around eight months from pre-production to completion, and almost a year doing a festival run.

Trespassers Screenshot 02

5. What were your biggest challenges while making the film?
Probably just the time and budget constraints. We shot across three-four days, and geographically the locations were up to five or six hours apart. We were also setting out to make a film that looked big, but we didn’t have a lot of money. Thankfully our locations had a lot of built in production design and the owners were incredibly accommodating. The film wouldn’t be the same without them.

 

Trespassers Screenshot 03


6. How did you get the ideas for the film's plot?
I tend to gravitate towards horror films with a real-life villain, as opposed to the supernatural. And I’ve always thought that sex trafficking was a very real evil that lends to the genre well, but hasn’t really been touched on that much.


The only two that really jump out are ‘Taken’ and ‘And Soon The Darkness,’ but neither of them explore the concept on home soil, which is infinitely scarier then some foreign land I’m never going to visit.


I knew from the jump that I didn’t want to repeat the bickering boyfriend and girlfriend trope, and thought that sibling banter would be a lot more fun to write. I combined those threads with the beautiful locations I had access to, and the rest of the plot sort of just came together.

 

Trespassers Screenshot 04

7. Do you have any fun or interesting stories about the making of this film? Maybe an experience on set?


My Sound Recordist, my DP and one of my actors decided to car pool to one of the locations, as it was quite a drive. The Sound Recordist and the actor left their cars at the meeting point, which was a public, well-lit car park (from what I understood).


When they finally got back home after a long shoot and a long drive, the Sound Recordist’s car had a smashed window and someone had gone through his belongings. Turns out there was some sort of gang out that night causing havoc, and his car was a casualty.


He wasn’t making much money to begin with, and I think whatever he did make probably went into fixing his window ... The fun part was just interacting with the cast and crew behind the scenes. This is easily one of the best teams I’ve put together for a project, and I enjoyed every minute.

 

Trespassers Screenshot 05

8. The film has magnificent cinematography! What kind of equipment did you use to achieve that?


Thank you! I’ve gotta give the credit to our DP Matt Martin for the cinematography. We talked in length about lighting and colours, sent reference pictures back and forth and done some test shooting, and he was heavily involved before the script was even finished.


The idea was to keep it very natural and beautiful, but slowly get murkier and darker as the story unfolded. Most of the film was shot on a Sony FS5, but he did break out an AS7ii in the stables for its low light capabilities. We had a gimbal, a slider and a dolly for the controlled movement at the start, but we opted for more of a handheld look as the action picks up.

From memory we mostly just used the sun with some bounce boards until the cellar and the stables. There, we hung some practicals and used a couple of Red Heads for some extra kick. It was a pretty minimalistic set up, but he made it work.

 

Trespassers Screenshot 06


9. There is some really gnarly sound design and foley work in the film, especially towards the end in a scene involving a shovel and the male lead's neck! How were some of those sounds created?

That all comes down to our talented team at Aldergrove Studios, specifically Michael Monaco and Scott Young. I honestly wasn’t in studio when they did all that, but I imagine they would have found the right blend of fruits and vegetables for the squelches and bone crunching, and then patiently layered it all together until it sounded perfect. Combine that with some unnerving music by Michael Drew and it’s still one of my favourite scenes!

 

Trespassers Screenshot 07


10. I'm really excited to see what you do next! Is there anything you'd like to promote or anyone you'd like to give a shout out to?


Thanks so much! I’d definitely like to refer everyone back to that ‘Kinks’ teaser I shared earlier. We’ll be finalising the film as soon as we can, and I’m really proud of it so far. If you like it, consider supporting our channel where we’ll have some more information coming out about the ‘Trespassers’ feature. Shout outs to everyone who made the film possible, from our cast and crew to our beautiful location owners and supporters.

Trespassers-poster

Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

From 1999-2015 I worked on location in the television and film industry as a location sound mixer, production manager and field producer. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Today, I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit LLC, a US based company that manages international film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Our team is passionate about showcasing new independent films, videos, series episodes, screenplays and teleplays of all genres.

Are you new to the Film Festival submission process?

Film Festival Circuit events have reviewed over 5,000+ submissions since 2008. Our judges see issues repeated daily that weaken the presentation of films, videos and screenplays during the evaluation process. The Film Festival Submitter’s Handbook was written to help filmmakers and screenwriters build a successful strategy and avoid common costly mistakes when submitting to Film Festivals.

Download Now!
$9.99 USD