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Rites of Spring (2011/2012)
Opened: 07/27/2012 Limited
|IFC Center||07/27/2012 - 08/02/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
A group of kidnappers abduct the daughter of a wealthy socialite and hide out in an abandoned school in the middle of the woods. But feelings of guilt soon overtake the kidnappers, dividing the group and putting their entire plan in jeopardy. The evening further spirals out of control when their poorly chosen hideout becomes a hunting ground for a mysterious creature that requires springtime ritualistic sacrifices.
Rites Of Spring was one of the first scripts I wrote on moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco. The script caught the attention of producer Eric Thompson, who brought it to Bobby and Wes Benton's company Red Planet Entertainment.
My goal for Rites Of Spring was to make a fast-paced, genre-bending horror movie with great characters, a kick ass villain and some alarming scares. I'm a big fan of multi-genre pictures such as Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn, which starts out as a crime thriller before turning into an action-packed horror film. In Rites Of Spring, a man who was wrongfully fired from his job conspires with a criminal to kidnap the daughter of his wealthy ex-boss and hold her for ransom. Unfortunately for him, the woman responsible for his getting fired is abducted by a nearby farmer who sacrifices women to a creature every spring to make rain come and water the crops.
The Creature (Wormface), was created by my friend Aaron Sims who has designed such great characters in "30 Days Of Night" and "The Incredible Hulk." Our goal was to make Wormface an iconic and memorable creature in the vain of 80's slasher movies that we both grew up with and loved, yet creating something unique and fresh. Toby Sells (The Walking Dead, Zombieland), was brought in to make Aaron's fantastic designs come to life.
For the main roles of Ben and Rachel, I wanted AJ Bowen and Anessa Ramsey, a pair of amazing independent actors who worked together on "The Signal." I couldn't have asked for two better actors for the roles. The toughest role for me to cast was the part of The Stranger, who is the aforementioned farmer. The character is such a tortured soul and requires a seasoned, veteran actor with a commanding screen presence. When I saw Marco St. John and remembered him from the Clint Eastwood thriller "Tightrope", I knew I found my Stranger.
With the cast in place, we shot Rites Of Spring in 14 different locations in 18 days in the small town of Canton Mississippi. We shot in a 100 year old barn, an ex-girlfriend's cornfield, a tornado, and an abandoned High School in the middle of the woods. I wanted the audience to get that desolate, rural, Americana feeling. We designed the locations to be a character onto themselves and used the scenery to expand the film's scope and feel. I knew this was a huge undertaking for a first time director, but I was extremely lucky to have such great producers, cast and crew. I have to give a lot of credit to my amazing cinematographer, Carl Herse, who really captured the beauty of Mississippi. My editor Ed Marx did a phenomenal job keeping the two-headed narrative structure engaging, energetic and fast.
I'm looking forward to shooting the sequel "Devil Sent The Rain" and the psychological thriller "Open 24 Hours" later this year . I have also been hired to adapt the non fiction book "Starvation Heights", from New York Times Best Selling Author Greg Olsen.
-- Padraig Reynolds, Director