This weekend, I had the chance to review ‘Stillwater‘ for Fright Nerd, which you can read here, and I was able to follow up that review with an interview with director Nino Aldi, who not only was the man behind the camera, but also co-wrote and played Richie, one of the film’s main character’s, in the film.
The film tells the story of: “A weekend camping trip among six old friends in Northern Minnesota’s “Boundary Waters” turns tragic after one dies under mysterious circumstances, triggering further turmoil as they attempt to unmask the killer within their own group.”
“The whole movie was a challenge, as every film is, but I knew this was going to be the case going into it so there honestly weren’t a whole lot of surprises” Aldi told me about handling so many roles for the film.
“Filmmaking is, to me at least, a series of plans. So, when the initial idea for Stillwater came (May of 2017) we had to scramble to pull everything together (script, budget, casting, etc) and we managed to shoot in the fall of the same year – 500 miles away from any production “help”. Fortunately, the story in and of itself was designed to feel a little “loose” so that the ending would make sense – and, looking back, the audience would (hopefully) get it and say “ah-ha”.
Therefore, I kept that same plan for the “essence” of the film – which was a bit rushed and chaotic. Also, due to the ULB budget, we had to shoot the film in 11 days (if we were to keep production value up – which is very important to me), so many of our days we were shooting 10 pages a day, in the wilderness, where we traveled to set every day by a caravan of pontoon boats with the gear, cast, and crew. Again, we knew this would be the case, therefore we would rehearse our scenes, intentions / obstacles every night before we shot in the cabins at the lodge where we all stayed” Aldi continued.
“Additionally, my shot list included a series drawn out specific shots to fill the sequences – things that NEEDED to happen to tell the story effectively, and the rest we did old school: blocked the scene and shot coverage – with an emphasis of clean, shallow-depth singles to create the “psychological” element for the characters. On top of that, I knew that: A) There will be no reshoots/pickus. B) The cloud coverage / weather will change, C) We had to stay on the budget – so we had to keep moving at a brisk pace.
The biggest personal challenge for me, was directing and being Richie. I blocked most of my scenes so that Richie was on the outside of the group (which, was also in tune with the character) so that I could be behind the monitor as much as possible” Aldi said.”
As the viewer takes the journey that is the movie, there are multiple instances where one, or more, of the characters in the film seem to be battling a mental situation, or condition, such as PTSD, depression, dillusion, and anger issues, among others.
“Totally manifested organically” Aldi said about the film’s references to mental health issues. “My personal opinion is that everyone who has been to war in active duty suffers from some kind, albeit very mild, PTSD. Therefore, I felt that the characters (not just Richie) that survived the camping trip with a few war-like horrors, would also suffer from it.”
Aldi embodies the role of an anger solider who is tormented by his experience with war, and how it has permanently changed his life at home. The character communicates a roller coaster of emotions as the plot unravels and the tension ramps up.
Stillwater takes place engulfed with beautiful scenery, and a setting that really conveys the sense of isolation. The setting of a dense forest, and camping, was something that was drawn out of Aldi’s personal experiences.
“I grew up in Wisconsin and love the Northwoods (The region of Northern MN, WI, MI) and really wanted to do a “Camping” film there” Aldi said.
“For years, I tried thinking of a concept that would work… but nothing ever did. Then, one day, I thought “what if I went on a trip with my old high-school friends that I haven’t seen in years – we all lead such different lives now. What if one of them died. Would we turn on each other if we thought one of us did it? What would we do? Stay true to the group mentality – or go find help?” The idea was born.”
For fans of the film, and Aldi’s approach, you’ll be happy to know that the man who wears so many hats isn’t stepping away from the horror genre anytime soon.
“I am sticking with the same genre for my next two projects that I co-wrote – though, with more of emphasis on the (dark) mystery/thriller side” said Aldi. “My goal is to direct a movie a year for the next 3 years – each, with a bigger budget than the last. Ambitious, I know, but coming off Stillwater – my goal for that was 9 months from idea to release – which we did somehow,I know for a fact that anything is possible.”
Stillwater is a solid movie, and hearing that Aldi is going to be putting the same dedication and hard work into a future horror project is nothing but good news.
I’ll certainly be checking out any of his future projects.
‘Dreadout: Tower of Hell’ Proves There is Nothing Good About Exploring Cult Murders
Leave it to a bunch of students to think it’s a good idea to visit the site of cult murders, because social media would totally love it.
That always works out well, doesn’t it?
Based on a popular Indonesian indie video game, ‘Dreadout: Tower of Hell’ tells the story of;
“Dreadout is about a group of students who head to the site of a mysterious cult murder in a bid to become popular on social media.”
Check out the trailer below:
‘BrightBurn’ Is a Horror-Fueled Twist on Super Hero Story
With all the popularity of Marvel and DC Comics films over the past several years, particularly as they venture into much darker territories, it’s about time that horror put it’s own twist on the traditional super hero story.
James Gunn, the man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, is excited to unveil ‘BrightBurn’ which is like turning the Superman story upside down in a way that’s never been done until now.
Gunn had this to say about the upcoming film, which stars Elizabeth Banks and drops May 24th, 2019.
“About a year ago my brother Brian, my cousin Mark, director David Yarovesky, producer Simon Hatt and I started coming up with an idea for a horror film that excited me in a way nothing outside of Guardians has in years – it was personal, and different, and perfectly suited for our times. And, yes, terrifying.”
‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Trailer Is Everything You Want, and More
Monster movies are awesome, when done right, and they certainly have rebooted the Godzilla franchise the right way in the United States.
A brand new trailer has been dropped for 2019’s summer blockbuster ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ and it looks amazing in every way imaginable.
Zhang Ziyi, Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Bradley Whitford, Ken Watanabe, Thomas Middleditch, Charles Dance and Aisha Hinds star in the film that takes place 5 years after the last film.
“When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.”
It officially arrives on May 31st, 2019.
- ‘Dreadout: Tower of Hell’ Proves There is Nothing Good About Exploring Cult Murders
- ‘BrightBurn’ Is a Horror-Fueled Twist on Super Hero Story
- ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Trailer Is Everything You Want, and More
- Syfy’s “Deadly Class” Teaser Is Out
- New Clip from ‘The Quake’ Shows Carnage in Action
- ‘The Harrowing’ Tells the Story of the Wrongly Accused
- Netflix Releases ‘The Innocent Man’ Trailer
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