Filmmaker Zoe Kavanagh takes us into the shadows of her short film Inexorable.
How would you describe the film? Inexorable is a psychological horror film that focuses on the fears we have at night. ‘Is that baby-cries out in the back garden or is that a cat? It could be a baby in peril, may need to check it out!’
It’s me experimenting with atmosphere and tension whilst being heavily inspired by classic horror films.
How did it come about?
It’s basically a sequence from a feature script that I have written called ‘Inexorable’, which means unrelentless, unstoppable and that’s basically what the feature is in the way that from start to finish every single scene is filled with something scary in different shapes and escalates until it ends.
I directed this short film to showcase that I can do horror, I can do atmosphere as I hadn’t made that type of horror film before but I’m a huge fan of.
Any specific influences?
A lot of influences from things that really got me or unnerved me. Horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser and Poltergeist to video-games such as the ‘Silent Hill’ series. There’s an atmosphere and character moralistic drama I like in these franchises that not only creep me out but engage me with their protagonists and their antagonists.
Any on-set stories you can share?
In the short film, the villain wears a Plague Doctor mask and after we wrapped filming in the alleyway where he preys in the corner, none of us wanted to stand anywhere in that spot alone as we were getting paranoid that someone was there! It was all fine in the end and was a fairly smooth shoot!
What particular skills do you need to make a short horror film?
You need to know what scares you and find a way to conjure that idea into a story. Directing a short film isnt always about giving people a full three-act structure but more so in a horror short it’s actually about giving the audience a scary sequence and dropping them into a scenario that they can connect to. It’s really about understanding the pace of horror. A lot of modern horror films don’t slow down when they need to, they have loud noises and fast cutting but that should be used for action not horror. Once you have them engaged, you can manipulate their emotions with your atmosphere, your shocks and terrify them.
How do you feel about screening at Horrorthon?
It’s great! Second year in a row a film by me has screened. Last year Demon Hunter played to a packed audience and now Horrorthon get the exclusive Irish premiere as I haven’t pushed this short yet. It also plays in Germany this week at the Obscura Film Fest before I start submitting it to lots of festivals. Excited about its prospects on the horror festival circuit.
A young girl tormented by the tragedies of her past is brought in for questioning by the police over the death of a man, who she claims to be a demon. Detective Beckett realizes this is the same girl he made a broken promise to six years ago that he’d find the monster that raped and murdered her 12 year old sister. The girl warns of a powerful man named Falstaff who will stop at nothing to claim her soul, Falstaff abducts Detective Beckett’s daughter and now this young girl is his only hope and ally in rescuing his daughter from this demonic cult and proving to him that Taryn Barker is the Demon Hunter.
Mark Sheridan talks to director and co-writer Zoe Kavanagh about her film, which plays in select cinemas June 6th.
Zoe talks about her influences, making the film and self-financing it, music and actors, the film’s success on the festival circuit, and the need for audiences to support Irish films.
DEMON HUNTER in Cinemas June 6th for a LIMITED TIME only BOOK NOW.
Demon Hunter was also nominated for Best Feature, Best Director and Best SFX at the festival.
Lurking in the shadows of society within the rich and powerful is the true essence of evil. A young girl, Taryn Barker, descends into this dark underworld to search for her sister, Annabelle. But when Annabelle is raped and murdered, Taryn vows to take revenge. She survives a demonic possession that should have killed her during a satanic ritual and is rescued by a team of demon hunters who train her to fight evil. Years later, Taryn is detained by police and questioned over the murder of a man who she believes to be a demon. As the bodies pile up, Detective Beckett is forced to seek Taryn’s aid in rescuing his daughter from a demonic cult. Running against the clock, Taryn must venture into the darkest depths of the city to save Beckett’s daughter and prevent a potential Hell on Earth.
Demon Hunter has won over 15 awards from multiple film festivals around the world including Grand Jury Prize Best Picture, Best Actor for Michael Parle, Best Actress for Aisli Moran at the Fight Night FIlm Fest, Best Martial Arts Film, Best Actress in a Martial Arts film for Niamh Hogan at the Anti Hero Genre Production Fest, and Best Director at Horrorhound Weekend.
Irish made action horror film Demon Hunter screened at the Fright Night Film Fest in the US Kentucky over the weekend where it came away with 9 awards, including Best Foreign Feature and Best Director for a budget under $250,000.
Director Zoe Kavanagh told Film Ireland that she was”blown away and in shock and awe at the reception Demon Hunter received at the festival. The film, which went through a rough ride getting from page to screen, has been recognized internationally at multiple festivals over the last few months of 2016, even selling out Screen 1 at the IFI Horrothon. However, we came away with 9 awards in US, Kentucky including Best Foreign Feature and Best Director for a budget under $250,000 amongst many other accolades. This proves if you believe in your art never give into doubt and never give up! This is only just the beginning!”
Actor Niamh Hogan & director Zoe Kavanagh at Fright Night Film Fest
Demon Hunter tells the tale of a young girl tormented by the tragedies of her past, who is brought in for questioning by the police over the death of a man, who she claims to be a demon. Detective Beckett realizes this is the same girl he made a broken promise to seven years ago that he’d find the monster that raped and murdered her 12 year old sister. The girl warns of a powerful man named Falstaff who will stop at nothing to claim her soul, Falstaff abducts Detective Beckett’s daughter and now this young girl is his only hope and ally in rescuing his daughter from this demonic cult and proving to him that Taryn Barker is the Demon Hunter.
Full List of Awards:
BEST FOREIGN FEATURE
BEST PARANORMAL FEATURE
BEST PICTURE UNDER $250,000
paranormal ZOE KAVANAGH
paranormal AISLI MORAN
BEST ACTRESS FOREIGN FEATURE
paranormal AISLI MORAN
BEST ACTOR FOREIGN FEATURE
paranormal MICHAEL PARLE
BEST SOUND MIXING
Demon Hunter sound recordist and sound mixer BRIAN GRIECO