Review: Dead Shack (Fantasia 2017)

 

 

Filmmaker/Musician Peter Ricq, known for his work on the animated shows The League of Super Evil as well as Freaktown where he worked with fellow filmmaker/writers Phil Ivanusic-Vallee and Davila LeBLanc, now tries his hand at live-action horror fare for his first feature, Dead Shack. Aimed at mixing dark comedy with big horror themes, the film shares its festival run with the prestigious Fantasia International Film Festival.

Taking a relaxing trip to the woods, a young kid joining his best friends’ family on a camping vacation in the wilderness finds their next-door neighbor is keeping a cannibalistic secret with her and must find a way to force their parents to believe them in order to get away alive.

 

 

For the most part, this here wasn’t all that bad of an effort. One of the more impressive elements here is the rather fun action that pops up, as this delivers some rather fun and enjoyable action scenes that come off quite nicely. Giving this one some solid gore from the unique and novel methods of dealing with the zombified creatures, these scenes make this one highly interesting as well as providing this one with plenty of solid, genuine laughs that come from the solid cast. They give this one a lot of it’s warmth and charm, which is what makes this one the overall appeal by having a lot to like overall by having the friendly banter between everyone and going for the joke is what causes this to be as funny as it is. There’s a few pacing issues to be had and the low-budget nature of the shoot does crop up at times where the darkness creeps in a little too much to make the film hard to make out what’s happening, but overall there’s still plenty to enjoy here.

You can catch the film’s premiere screening at the Fantasia Festival July 22, 2017

4/5 Zombie Heads

 

 

Interview: Peter Ricq (Dead Shack, Fantasia 2017)

The Don interviews the director of Dead Shack, Peter Ricq.

 

 

DA: Hello, and thank you for taking the time to talk to us. What can you tell us about your new film Dead Shack?

PR: Dead Shack is a Horror film with a lot of comedy moments in the vein of Evil Dead 2, An American Werewolf in London, Reanimator and Fright Night.

DA: Where did the inspiration for the film come from? Where there any unique stories about it’s conception?

PR: I was trying to develop these 80 million dollar movies for many years and knew that it was never going to happen. After watching the Fright Night remake in theatres, it reminded me how much fun those types of movies were and how they affected me as a child. I remembered how many small horror films were some of my favourite films of all time and that I’ve watched them over and over again growing up. I went home and wrote the outline to Dead Shack in three days, did nothing else and wrote it knowing that I wanted very little locations and few characters like Evil Dead 2.

DA: How did you come to be attached to the project? Was this something you always wanted to do or were you brought on board later on?

PR: Quite the opposite, I was the one trying to get people attached to the project. It was never easy. Each step was a battle, no one wanted to be involved and so I worked harder to prove to people that that is something worth making.

DA: Coming from a heavy background in animated fare, was it a big step going to a live-action feature?

PR: I started doing live action music videos since 2007 for my bands HUMANS, Gang Signs and Ladyfrnd. The goal was always to learn on these music videos so that one day I could make the jump to a feature live action film.

DA: Did having your partners from the animated series involved in this film make for a smooth transition?

PR: Phil and Dav are my creative partners. We work on almost everything together and trust one another so it was always the plan to have them work on Dead Shack with me. It’s easy because we’ve done so many projects together since we met in university.

DA: Being a live-action film, did you come across any unexpected hardships while shooting the movie?

PR: Yeah, the cold was horrible. That was probably the worst, also the rain and mud where all the cars got stuck oh and then the snow.

DA: Were there any fun on-set stories about the filming that were especially memorable?

PR: There’s a lot of shots in the film where people had to step in as the kids because we couldn’t have them on set anymore. It was fun to have everyone play the kids at one point or another and in the end, you can’t even tell in the film.

DA: Now that the film is coming to film festivals, what’s the expected timeframe that others will be able to see this?

PR: I think it’ll be around Halloween but don’t quote me on that.

DA:. Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with our readers?

PR: Yeah, lots. HUMANS is releasing new videos and music leading up to a new album next year and so is Gang Signs. I’m finishing the sequel to Once Our Land. We are turning Once Our Land into a feature animated film. I am finishing a script to a Vampire Movie similar to Dead Shack. Phil, Dav and I are working on several other horror films one that is a hybrid between dazed and confused and The Thing. So yeah, lots to come!