The other local filmmakers I wanted to praise were the new director/producer team of Trevor Juras and Peter Kuplowsky, whose film The Interior screened here on Monday.
James (Patrick McFadden), an office drone fed up with city life, leaves everything behind and treks into the British Columbian forest. It is not long, however, before he discovers he might not be alone.
I remember when first Peter told me he was trekking out to BC for a few weeks to shoot a movie in the woods. I said “that's cool”, but what I was thinking was “good luck with that.” But here we are, a year later, and those crazy bastards have delivered a solid and engaging movie.
For those who have seen director Trevor Juras' short film work (and if you haven't, watch this now), you'll know how seamlessly he blends comedy with horror. In The Interior, it plays here in two halves, buttering us up with situational comedy before thrusting us into the harsh unknown of the wilderness.
I've heard some critical bylines to the effect of “man goes into forest; nothing much happens,” but I feel that's grossly inaccurate. By saying that, you are ignoring all the talented filmmaking that is going on here. While it is true that the narrative is minimalist – there is virtually no dialogue in the back half – Juras held my attention in other ways.
|Patrick McFadden as James in The Interior.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about The Interior is its calculated use of light. Juras made mention during the Q&A that he wanted as little of it as possible, even cutting out the usual crutch of the overhead lamp doubling for the moon, in order to simulate the extreme darkness of the forest. This absence of light was a character in itself, as your eyes cling to the narrow rays thrown by the main character's flashlight. It is these sequences that get to the very root of our primal fears. Juras also has a really tight grasp of when to use music and when not to, as some sequences are beautifully blanketed with the work of Chopin, and some are starkly silent.
I was worried that The Interior was going to be a largely obtuse affair that left me scratching my head at the end – much like my recent experience with Alex Ross Perry's Queen of Earth, which I loved despite the huh? – but it was actually quite simple and straightforward. These half a dozen guys ran around in the woods for a fortnight and came out with a solid movie. It's quite inspiring when you think about it.
|Director Trevor Juras.
I’m thrilled that the Toronto film community is not only thriving by being home to countless Hollywood projects and television shows, but also nurturing dynamic indie filmmakers like Trevor and Gabriel. The future is bright, indeed.