While it enjoyed its debut this past Friday in select theaters, Sacrifice from filmmakers Andy Collier and Toor Man is set to arrive on digital platforms today for genre fans to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. Loosely based on a short story by Paul Kane, Sacrifice stars Barbara Crampton, Sophie Stevens, and Ludovic Hughes and is centered around a young couple who arrive in an isolated Norwegian village to claim an inheritance, but get more than they bargained for when they realize the villagers are part of a cult that worship a sea-dwelling entity.
During the recent press day for Sacrifice, Daily Dead had the pleasure of speaking with both Mian and Collier about their latest collaboration, and they discussed what they initially saw in Kane’s story that felt ripe for adaptation, their thoughts on collaborating with Stevens for Sacrifice, and more.
Great to speak with you both today, and congrats on the film. I really enjoyed it. To start off, I wanted to discuss how Sacrifice came about in the first place. I noticed in the credits that it is based on a short story by Paul Kane. Were there certain elements of that story that you both felt would make for a great film?
Andy Collier: So, our previous film Charismata was also a horror film, but it was really ambitious. It was set in London, which I guess is an expensive place to shoot in, and it had a big cast and lots of locations and we really stretched ourselves. We decided for the next movie to try and make something as effectively easy as possible. We were looking for good folk horror stories and I read Paul's short story and really liked it. And as Toor and I were going through potential stories, or trying to think of our own, I think that one kept floating to the surface and we both liked the story and both liked the mood. So, I think that one demanded that we decide to make it.
Toor Mian: That was certainly the genesis of everything and how we described our take on it, as being inspired by Men of the Cloth, rather than being a straight-up adaptation. Because after we started trying to adapt it, we very quickly realized that despite our initial intention, being something contained and something we could shoot with our budget in a very, very effective way, we soon realized that, "Oh God, this is actually the opposite of our initial intention. We're going to need 10 times the budget, because of the SFX involved."
And because of that, we ultimately ended up, to be frank and possibly to Paul's annoyance, changing many elements of the original story, but hopefully, at least maintaining the essence of the tale and this ambiance of a real creeping dread. And so, I think, hopefully we've achieved that at the very least. But that was the starting point, but the end point is probably, if we're honest, quite different than the original short story. I'd hate anyone to read this brilliant short story and think, "Jesus Christ, what the hell did these filmmakers do with this?"
You just mentioned creating this feeling of creeping dread, and what I really appreciated about this film was how well you blended these real-world elements of what's happening in this story, but then you have these fantastical elements in there as well. And sometimes those things don’t always work together. Was that a challenge for you, in terms of keeping everything feeling very grounded and realistic, but also contending with these very fantastic ideas at the center of this story?
Toor Mian: I mean, this is our second collaboration as directors, and correct me if I'm wrong, Andy, but one of the themes that we both delve into in our previous film and this one, is that clash between mundane reality and the supernatural, the cosmic, the world beyond our grasp and those Lovecraft elements of what lies beneath or beyond our subjective interpretation of the world. So, I think that sensibility is prevalent in what we've produced previously and also what we will hopefully produce in the future, in terms of scripts we've already written. That's definitely a theme that I think we're both interested in exploring, that conflict between mundane reality and the supernatural.
Andy Collier: I agree. And I think the way it was executed, that really does our debt to Lovecraft. And specifically, although you might not think it, the one Lovecraft story that really inspired this was The Call of Cthulhu, with the way that sane people went into this fantasy world in their dreams and started creating crazy art and stuff like that. That really informed the way that we thought about writing the script for this.
It was absolutely a joy to see Barbara in this, but I wanted to talk about Sophie, because I think she is really the heart of this story and she's so good. She really goes through so much in this movie. Can you discuss what made her the perfect fit for the role of Emma in this movie and your experiences working with her on this very challenging role?
Toor Mian: I think ultimately the reason we cast Sophie in the first place is because she's just inherently sympathetic. I don't know if you're aware of this, but Sophie's actually English, and she's playing an American very convincingly here, I hope. But in terms of her general personality, in reality she's just a very, very nice, down-to-earth, sympathetic human being and that was actually the deciding factor, in terms of casting. We just thought that she's a lovely person and people will, hopefully, really root for her, if she can just get a sense of her true personality across on screen. And I think she's successful in that, so I am very pleased to hear you say that.
Andy Collier: We did spend a lot of time on casting for this, and we did an extensive search, but I think Sophie was very much the right choice. She was great to have on set and I think she did a wonderful job with this role.
In case you missed it, read our interview with Sacrifice co-star Barbara Crampton!