Landmine Goes Click was one of the more controversial offerings at this year’s Frightfest. Adding an extra layer to the typical rape / revenge tale the film is a compelling and engaging, if not somewhat uncomfortable watch.
Starring Disney Prince Sterling Knight, Landmine Goes Click sees a clueless American man accidentally step onto a landline in the Georgia wilderness. As if that wasn’t bad enough he then has to watch on in anguish as the woman he loves is attacked by a village local whom the couple mistake for a good samaritan.
Director Levan Bakhia previously brought us the high-concept horror film 247ºF which had a group of revellers trapped inside an ever increasingly hotter sauna, it’s like the opposite of Frozen (the ski lift one, not the Elsa one). Interestingly though Bakhia himself isn’t really a fan of horror films. Surprised? So were we when we spoke to him recently. Find out what else he had to say about the genre and Landmine Goes Click in our exclusive interview.
In a nutshell what is Landmine Goes Click about?
Where did the idea come from?
From the whiteboard. I mean we were brainstorming for single location high concept genre film ideas. Landmine Goes Click was just one of them. By high concept I mean a story where a character has a specific goal of life and death importance, but at the same time there is even more specific reasons why that goal cannot be achieved.
What were your influences / inspirations whilst creating Landmine?
All of the rape and revenge films were inspiration. One day I realised that it was this genre where I was enjoying seeing violence. In every other movie, I don’t like seeing blood. But in films like I Spit on your Grave I would find myself cheering for the main character to tie someone to a tree and let birds eat his eyes. I thought, why? That’s horrible. But something inside me was satisfied. I knew I wanted to exploit the same weakness of the human mind – the desire for revenge. But I wanted to make it as dissatisfying as possible. And then Derren Brown showed me the way.
In one of his experiments he is the host of the show, where live they are watching a real person who sits in a bar. The audience can vote if something good or something unpleasant happens to the person. In real time. So for example, he is either offered a free drink in the bar or he gets into a fight.
Since everyone else around him are actors, everything happens as the audience decides. So of course the audience wants fun, and thus it’s not a free drink they choose, it’s horrible events that the guy being pranked has to go through.
And at the end accidentally, as if not planned in the middle of the fun, he is hit by a car and killed – because he runs away. Fortunately this last part was staged and the guy was fine. But it was the audience who realised where their choices had led them. I guess you have to see the show and my film in order to understand what I mean.
How did you bring your cast together?
I wish I had an entertaining answer to this question, but no. We auditioned – over Skype I met them. And I followed my gut instinct. I am happy I did.
Sterling is more well known for his roles on the Disney Channel, was there ever any worry about what his fandom would make of the role?
Well, yes, his fandom is young and maybe not ready for this film. But sooner or later they will be. I think Sterling is a terrific actor, he is much much bigger than “family” roles.
What challenges did you face as a director on the shoot?
Everything is a challenge when you make a movie. But that’s why you make it.
The rape / revenge idea has been done many times before, how important was it to do something different?
Well, in a question above on where the inspiration came from I answered it partially. You know, it mattered a lot to me to remind the audience, especially those who enjoy revenge flicks, that revenge might be sweet, but definitely not satisfying.
The film screens at Frightfest this weekend, what is your favourite scary movie?
I don’t know. I’m sorry, if the reader or the horror fan who reads this is disappointed. But I am not a big horror fan myself.
Which recent horror films have caught your eye?
My eyes are caught more by different genres. Again I know it sounds strange, two of the films I have directed are genre films and then I say I am not fan of that genre. But that’s the way I am, why lie?
When I was asked this question, in the beginning I almost came up with certain answers because that is what was expected of me. But then I realised, that we are who we are. And I am someone who makes horror films, but is not a fan himself. How can that be? Well I don’t know, but the fact is that it can be.
What are you currently working on?
Solitude, Boiling Frog, Lucid Life, and Real Working Time Machine.
A release date for the film has yet to be set, but given the positive response the film garnered at Frightfest we’re sure it won’t be too long before a distributor snaps it up.