Premiering on Friday, June 3rd on the Chiller channel is writer/director Mark Pavia’s Fender Bender, a cautionary slasher that explores the darker side of vehicular incidents. The film stars Makenzie Vega, Bill Sage, Cassidy Freeman, Dre Davis and Kelsey Leos Montoya, and it’s the first original production to come from the fine folks over at Scream Factory.

Fender Bender follows a teenager named Hilary (Vega), who gets into an unexpected collision with a mysterious stranger (Sage) right after getting her license. Once her parents find out that their new car has been damaged, Hilary is left home alone while they head out for a relaxing weekend, and the teen must soon contend with a masked leather-clad maniac who wants nothing more than to spill her blood and move on to his next victim.

Daily Dead recently caught up with Vega—who some horror fans may remember as the daughter of Dr. Gordon in the original Saw film—to talk about her involvement in Fender Bender, working with Pavia and her co-star Sage, returning to the horror genre, and much more.

Great speaking with you today, Makenzie. Sometimes it's hard being a horror fan because you see so many movies every year and you just want people to get it right, and I think Mark did a really good job of getting this one right. I had a blast with this film.

Makenzie Vega: Yeah, Mark's a funny guy. He has such a creative mind and he's so sweet. His craziness is reflected in the movie in a good way. We all loved working with him. Mark's awesome.

When I did some research prior to watching Fender Bender, it completely shocked me that you were actually Dr. Gordon's daughter in the original Saw movie, so this is a really cool way for you to return to the horror genre.

Makenzie Vega: That was me, I was so young [laughs]! I've only done two horror films, Saw and Fender Bender, so it's interesting. They're so different, but they were both equally fun to film and you definitely have a different type of person, in terms of crew and cast, working on horror films. Everyone's mentality is a little different when you're there—it's fun. It's different than filming The Good Wife or a drama, something a little bit more serious. People kind of get to goof around on horror sets, which adds a lot.

When you were first thinking about coming on this project, or they approached you for it, what was it that you saw in Hilary, as a character, that made you think, "Wow, this is definitely a role I'd love to take on"?

Makenzie Vega: Hilary was unique to me because I love playing characters that I see something in that I can relate to. With Hilary, I feel she’s almost a perfect balance of a good-natured human being—a good person, a sweet girl—who is also kind of badass. She has a fighter's mentality, she's strong. When things hit the fan, she doesn't just run and hide, she mans up. You see a side of her that you want to see in women and it's empowering knowing that she has that fighting face.

Yeah, absolutely. Especially when we see the boyfriend come over, you can definitely see the shift in her character that she's done being victimized.

Makenzie Vega: If you mess with someone long enough, they're going to learn how to start dealing with it. She definitely brings a new side of herself as a series of unfortunate things begin to happen, and she doesn't really play the victim card at any point, either.

When you came onto Fender Bender, did you and Mark talk about Hilary as a character and add stuff, or was everything pretty much right there in the script for you to play around with?

Makenzie Vega: Well, I got to embellish it a bit with my own thoughts, but Mark really had this vision for this project and for Hilary. To be able to bring his vision to life was my ideal goal, and I feel like we accomplished that. We were very hands-on with on-set communicating and making sure that I was on his page. I did my best to help him make his Hilary come to life. I'm really excited that he seems so happy about it because that was everyone's goal.

I really enjoyed Bill’s performance as The Driver; he had that cool disconnect that made him off-putting to the point that you can’t help but be really uncomfortable watching him. How was that dynamic for you while working opposite him and playing against his character?

Makenzie Vega: Well, Bill is so funny because in person he has so much personality and chemistry with everyone that he talks to, and then you get on set and he goes into this mode that’s the complete opposite. He's great in real life, but as a character he's so creepy.

As a performer, it almost throws you off in the best way possible, and he still maintains that ability to draw people in and have chemistry with them, but there's something so off about his character, too. His gestures, his little tics, the things that he chooses to do are great to watch. He made that character into something really cool. That was a part of Mark's genius plan, to bring in someone who could make this role feel like something different and cool.

The story involves a car accident scenario, but Fender Bender’s underlying message could also be that we're a little too free with our information these days. Was that something that stuck out to you as well?

Makenzie Vega: Absolutely. This is the way I look at it: in our lives, everything on social media and everything else that's online, that you have to fill out—even a credit card form—you give your information anyway. It's something that we're so blind to and we do it routinely and we give it the benefit of the doubt and expect that everybody is normal. The reality is that everyone is not normal and there are some crazy people out there, and you just need to be wise and follow precautions and be safe because, like this movie, in reality you do get in fender benders and we do give away our information just for the sake of not being the annoying person that's making everyone follow all of the steps and do it the long way. It’s scary when you really think about it.

One last question before our time is up. Early on you did Saw, and now you've done Fender Bender. Do you want to do more in the horror genre in the future or are you open to all genres?

Makenzie Vega: I'm definitely open to all genres just because I love the creative aspect of being a chameleon and doing different things and drawing from some different emotional pulls, but I would absolutely love to do more horror films. They're fun. That's the bottom line. Everybody loves horror films, even if they say that they don't. They're fun to film, they're fun to watch, and I’d love to do more down the line.


In case you missed it, check out Heather's interview with Bill Sage, who plays The Driver in Fender Bender:

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.