Interview: Christopher Crow Talks Devil’s Bridge and Panic Button
Having premiered Panic Button at this years FrightFest the film is now coming out on DVD in the UK. (review here). UK BrutalAsHell.com contributor Aled Ll Jones of MoviedromeDVD had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Christopher Crow about Panic Button and his first feature film Devil’s Bridge (review here), and his plans for Abertoir Film Festival in Aberystwyth.
BAH: Before we get to Panic Button could you just tell me when we might see Devil’s Bridge on DVD?
Christopher Crow: Yeah it will be very soon now and Entertainment 1 will be putting it out, which is great. As regards when exactly it will come out, it will most probably be exactly the same time as Panic Button oddly enough.
BAH: Could you talk a little about how you achieved the superb visuals in Devil’s Bridge on such a limited budget?
Christopher Crow: My background is making short films so I had to do so much myself and got really used to having small budgets. Many of the people working on Devil’s Bridge had a background of working in theatres as designers and technicians. Personally I was a set designer and technician in my twenties so everyone on the film down to the producers did ten jobs each. The whole concept was to find locations that just worked and the film is practically 100% location based.
BAH: Does the film have a Welsh look to it at all?
Christopher Crow: A character in the film is based on a guy I met in North Wales years ago who had burned cottages at one point. Due to the peer pressure he felt as a young guy he got involved in that world and even went out Ireland and learned about bomb making from the IRA. So in a way you might say that Devil’s Bridge is possibly a Welsh Deliverance.
BAH: I was hoping that it would make me think of South Wales the way Deliverance makes me think of the South in the USA.
Christopher Crow: Absolutely yeah, it’s about tribal hatred of sorts and being a proud Welshman I really didn’t want to offend anyone. Essentially it’s based on stories I’ve heard and then amplified for filmic effect.
BAH: Moving on to Panic Button where do you stand on social media?
Christopher Crow: Oddly enough it was Panic Button that made me get a Facebook account as it made it easier with cast and crew as they all had accounts themselves, especially the younger members of the cast who live and die via social media. Personally I’m not too sure what I think of it but you look through history and you see humans misusing the tools given to us. Some people use the whole social media world for bad stuff whilst others use it in a very positive way. Look at the recent riots as a perfect example as people where in fact co-coordinating certain attacks via facebook and twitter apparently. On the flip-side you have things like animal shelters that do amazing things with social media to re-house their animals. On the whole I think it’s fair to say that I’m not a huge fan of the whole thing.
BAH: This time around you worked with three writers, can you tell me how you found the experience.
Christopher Crow: I’ve always written my own stuff so it was a really interesting process for me personally. We were all working towards aiming the dialogue and situation as real as possible. The first draft I read I personally felt the dialogue and characters was slightly conventional to the horror genre. So we all did draft after draft and I really enjoyed it and found the experience to be really interesting. The original story was so topical that all it needed was some work to bring it all together and I was desperate to direct it, it was just a matter of making it working.
BAH: You mentioned topicality there, did this make the film easier to fund?
Christopher Crow: Raising money for film in the UK is hard work no matter when to be honest as we don’t have the studio system. Personally I feel the producers did a superb job getting the money. I definitely think the investors saw a really commercial film but also they invested in the idea of what Alltogether.com could possibly become. The producers were amazing in creating an entire package for the film that obviously chimed with people looking to invest.
BAH: Watching the trailer it seems to suggest that almost all the action takes place on the plane, is that correct?
Christopher Crow: Mainly yeah you’re right it does take place on the plane.
BAH: Was that a particular challenge?
Christopher Crow: I have to say that it was for me yeah as usually I much prefer environments that are run down and somewhat distressed in their overall look. No doubt for me it was a challenge and it could have gone tits up very quickly. The worry always was if the audience didn’t take to any of the characters then you’re stuck in one location and that’s seriously scary. From the minute I read the script I had a strong idea of building up the claustrophobia and paranoia slowly, creating a growing sense of dread for the audience would be the way to go.
BAH: Do you think people will make a connection between this and Saw possibly?
Christopher Crow: It does get mentioned you know, like Saw on a plane has been said. Personally I’m not a fan of the whole torture porn thing; I just find it rather off putting to be honest. The original Saw film, which is the only one I’ve seen, was a very strong idea that had an awesome visual quality. Personally I’m not offended as I really rate the first film in the series which is in the only one I’ve actually seen.
BAH: What’s next Chris? What can we expect in the future?
Christopher Crow: I do love horror / thriller type films if I’m being honest but I don’t want to just stick with that. I’m currently working on a project set in the Welsh marshes just after the Norman Conquest. We’re trying to work on a script that will resemble a samurai film come revisionist western set in 1071.
BAH: There may be some weird karma going on here Chris as I just saw Michael Sheen talking about Welsh film and he said that he didn’t understand why nobody was looking to make a Samurai action spectacular wet in medieval Wales.
Christopher Crow: Well that’s it then we’ll go and have a word with him (laughing). The important thing is to look to try and make commercial films in Wales, that’s what we need.
BAH: To finish up, will Panic Button be showing at Abertoir this year?
Christopher Crow: Yes it is and Devil’s Bridge as well as it happens. We’ve promised them Devil’s Bridge for a couple of years now. This will be the third year that it has flirted with Abertoir, but it will happen this time around.
Thanks goes out to Christopher Crow for taking the time out to chat with us!