I recently watched At the Devil's Door, a unique take on possession in the horror genre and fell in love. The dialogue felt real, and the situations were frightening enough to imagine yourself in with some twists along the way that were, for once, actually shocking. Naturally, I just had to interview the movie's writer and director, Nicholas McCarthy.
Mr. McCarthy gained a lot of great critic success from his short film, The Pact and his career has propelled forward at lightning speed since. When watching this film, you see exactly why. You completely lose yourself in his mind and story. The entire time you sit there impressed with what is being thought of and realized in front of you. Most possession stories can oftentimes seem a bit too campy to take seriously, but this one had some truly rare moments that left you wanting more of the story - you just want it to continue on because it's that interesting.
It was no surprise however, because even in just the one conversation I had with Nicholas McCarthy you can tell that he is an intellectual man, with very cerebral and deep thoughts - it was as if he was meant for and made to be a director, so I had to ask how it was directing Naya Rivera from Glee and Ashley Rickards from MTV's Awkward since it seems that their forums were so different, and what his approach was;
...It was a different set of circumstances because it was a movie, but also a low budget movie. A lot of the conversations I had with Naya were about how to develop the character because on Glee she had four years to do that. Here she just showed up on set one day and we throw her into, "Hey! You're pregnant!", cut scene, and now, "You're going to try to kill this kid!" As far as it being a different genre for her, I don't think a good actor really thinks of the genre. It's different because, yes, it's a scary movie but you're not really filming it that way. For Ashley, we worked did a lot of difficult together beforehand doing improv stuff for a couple of days to see exactly how this THING could really take hold of her, how was it she was possessed.
So, Ashley Rickards and Naya Rivera show up to set - what were their first scenes?
For Ashley, we worked together beforehand doing improv stuff for a couple of days to see exactly how this THING could really take hold of her, how was it she was possessed. I think Naya's first scene was where she meets Catalina for the first time. Ashley, I don't remember what her first scene was. We made the movie so fast it all seemed to blend together. [laughs]
You both wrote and directed The Pact and At the Devil's Door, do you ever see yourself taking on other people's work or sticking to sole projects?
It's something I've been pursuing the last couple of years. There were two or three movies that I thought would be my third feature which were based on other's scripts but for some reason or another didn't happen. I don't see myself just sticking to my own stuff, but at the same time I'm kind of helpless to when I write something and direct it that it has it's own brand, or style maybe. As for people taking on my scripts to direct... it's an interesting idea, and I have written some screenplays but I have never pursued it.
Is that because it's hard to imagine or trust someone else to bring your personal vision to life?
Well, maybe it's because I'm a director first. I want to take it on. So, kind of all of it, yeah.
Speaking of your own flavor personified in your work, do you ever see yourself branching outside of the darker supernatural horror?
Yeah, I was just having a drink with my friend and he was saying what I should do next is to make a movie without magic, without the supernatural. That's something I'm really interested in. I guess at the end of the day I don't think of it as genre, I think of it as sort of concern, and I have always been interested in the darker. It's always going to be something that is concerned with darkness or evil, it's just where my mind ends up.
I'm usually pretty quick, but your twists caught me off guard. What brought you the idea?
It was really just tying together these different worlds and trying to find ways to make them work together. I am always thinking one step ahead of myself, just trying to write something interesting and entertaining. It kind of came together over two strands of thinking, and blending these things together. I like the freedom of doing that. I ended up almost making a no-concept movie, a concept that kept changing and you have to sell that to the audience.
And boy, did he ever! He sells it in a pretty bow with a treat on the side. Nicholas McCarthy effortlessly brings you dizzying twists without gaping holes in his plot. It's a true feat even for the most skilled of block buster directors. When watching the film you will be enthralled the entire way through because of his painless transitions that he speaks about.
I highly suggest checking out the trailer below and then tracking down the movie, because as it may have been lower budget, it deserves high praises.