Reelbloody steals a minute with writer/director Adam MacDonald to discuss the new nature thriller Backcountry
Look around, and you’ll see Adam MacDonald’s name on anything from comedy to drama to horror. He’s spent the better part of his adult life honing his skills and perfecting his craft, as you can see by his impressive resume. Let’s fast forward to 2015, shall we? He’s just finished his latest project, a nature thriller called Backcountry, and it’s tentatively set for US distribution in the spring. The film centers around a couple (played by Missy Peregrym and Jeff Roop) who embark on a camping trip, only to be stalked by a vicious black bear. The film is already an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it’s spent the last few months making appearances at over a half dozen film festivals. He’s currently showing off his movie at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Reelbloody.com was fortunate enough to steal just a few minutes of his time to find out a little about the movie, some past influences, and what’s to come.
RB: Adam, thanks so much for taking the time to discuss your film Backcountry with us. I know you’re knee deep in the Palm Springs International Film Fest so that has to be exciting. As such, I’ll keep this short and sweet. I recently watched you in Home Sweet Home, which is a very brutal, straight forward film. I enjoyed it for sure, but more importantly, it led to our discovery of your film Backcountry. I was immediately intrigued. I read that you had an “Open Water in the woods” idea for this movie, and that it’s loosely based off of actual events. Do you think that, along with the age old concept of man vs nature element is what really brings this to a level of fright more real than most fictional horror films?
AM: YES! I believe in certain horror films where you’re not ‘sure' if this could happen like a ghost story, you kind of make yourself believe the scenario so it frightens you. THE RING is one of my all-time favourite movies and it scared the shit of me; is this movie plausible almost 100% no, but a part of you tricks yourself to believe it where REAL events, like a wild animal attack are very close to home. So for this reason I believe is more terrifying. We've adopted this primal fear of predatory animals over a hundreds of thousands of years and that's not going to go away. One of the big reasons JAWS was so impactful.
RB: I always ask, where was the film shot and how long did the shoot take?
AM: We shot the film in Northern Ontario, in the North Bay region and we also shot some stuff in Squamish British Columbia. We only had 16 days to shoot it. It was crazy!
RB: Cliché question time, if you don’t mind. As a fan of the 80’s, can you maybe give us a few titles from your youth that brought about your love of horror?
AM: Evil Dead, my GOD I saw that when I was about 10 years old; I could not get that movie out of my head for months! Friday the 13th part 3. That movie terrified me as a kid…I actually puked after I saw it. And THE SHINING really screwed me up. I love the SHINING I watch it every year at least once. I thought about these movies constantly growing up, I couldn't get them out of my head. I realized that it's kind of like falling in love in a weird way, you know when you meet a girl and you just can’t get them off your mind, so I guess you could say I fell in love with Horror films.
RB: I saw IFC Midnight has picked up your film for US distribution. That has to be exciting. Did they happen to lead on to what their plans were for distribution this year?
AM: I'm so happy we ended up with IFC midnight! I think it’s a perfect fit. My favourite film THE CHASER was released by them so it's extra sweet. They will release it this spring.
RB: As a side note here: I know at the end of the day, the horror film fan base is one big, tight-knit family, but I’m just saying: there are some great Canadian horror films out there, and I’m certain Backcountry will be no exception. Coincidence, or is there something in the water up there?
AM: Hah! Yeah, maybe the water. I feel some really good horror tends to come out of countries with long dark winters.
RB: Lastly, I know we are all curious…any big plans or projects this year, or will you take some time to sit back and enjoy the notoriety Backcountry is getting?
AM: Yes funny enough I got hired on a project recently where I'm attached as director. I just finished a rewrite of the script. I’m sorry I can't say much about it BUT I can say that it is a horror/thriller dealing with a ghost oddly enough! I LOVE the story.
RB: Thanks so much again for your time, Adam. To spend a little time with us is an honor and is appreciated beyond any words I can muster. Reelbloody wishes all the best to you and your endeavors this year.
AM: Thanks guys it's an absolute pleasure! I'm a huge horror fan and like you said it is a tight-knit group and it always great meeting new folks.
Quite the gentleman, Adam is. We are truly excited to sink our teeth into this one this year. Fans can keep your eyes peeled to Adam and his many successes on Twitter @_adammacdonald and his terror fest, for which we can BEARly wait, @backcountryfilm.