EXCLUSIVE: From director Darren Lynn Bousman comes Abattoir, a new horror thriller written by Chris Monfette about a haunted house constructed entirely from rooms in which horrific deaths have occurred. It stars Jessica Lowndes, Joe Anderson, Dayton Callie, Lin Shaye and Jay Huguley and follows Julia (Lowndes), a real estate journalist who finds herself on the crime beat following the horrific murder of her sister. When the room in which her sister was killed is literally stolen, Julia’s investigation takes her on a tour of recent and far older tragedies.
In the exclusive clip above, get a sense of just how extensive that misery is as Julia speaks to various people affected by it. The pic has its world premiere tonight in a sold-out screening at the Los Angeles Film Festival, with another screening set for tomorrow.
Bousman, who made his bones as a director with Saw II, III, and IV, spoke to Deadline about the film, which turns out to come from a very personal place despite the over-the-top premise. The world in which it takes place is somewhat similar to that of films like Rian Johnson’s Brick or David Fincher’s Seven, “hyper-stylized” as Bousman puts it with heavy noir influences.
“I’m a fan of antiques, the archaic and arcane. If you go to my house, everything I have in it is from the 1930s and ’40s,” said Bousman, who uses an antique typewriter for writing and significant personal correspondence. “Now, I don’t exist in the 1930s, but I love that look, I love the era, I love how there were gears and knobs, and nothing was electronic-based.” The resulting film is one in which the characters will use an old typewriter and then whip out an iPhone, or speak with the same cadence and turns of phrase as an old Bogart and Bacall movie. “Everyone interacting in [Abattoir] is from a time long past,” says Bousman, who cites Seven and Alex Proyas’ Dark City as specific influences.
Bousman also drew from his own life, including his religious upbringing and recently becoming a father, as the film came together. “I’m dealing with more of my kind of confusion with my place in the world — God, the Devil, religion, all that,” he says. “And more importantly about loss. The whole movie is about loss and tragedy, things being ripped from us — in this case, these rooms — and relationships. Imagine if you were in a place that was only tragedies.”
Abattoir, which Bousman has been trying to make since 2010, was originally fleshed out with a six-issue comic book miniseries published by Radical. Published in 2010 and 2011, the comics were intended more to set the scene for the universe, but ultimately much changed from comic to screenplay that honed the tone and style. “I wanted the film to have a noir-based tone in it, and that includes the way that they talk… When you saw Bogie and heard him talking, you bought it, and you thought he was cool. I think one of the things that the comic book didn’t have that this does have is more of my voice as what I like and what moves me.”
The challenge then, for the audience, says Bousman, is “are you willing to accept these types of characters in a modern world?”