Making a big splash at Sundance two years ago with The Eyes of My Mother, writer/director Nicolas Pesce hopes to do the same this year with Piercing, a two-hander thriller starring Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska.

The film follows Reed (Abbott), who kisses his wife (Laia Costa) and baby goodbye with the understanding that he’s going out on a business trip. The reality, it’s fair to say, is somewhat different—departing from his family home, Reed checks into a hotel, with a plan to call an escort service and kill an unsuspecting prostitute, ridding himself of personal demons so he can get back to his everyday life. Unfortunately for Reed, he gets set up with Jackie (Wasikowska), who is not the average call girl—and a nightmarish evening ensues.

Piercing is based on a novel by Ryu Murakami, a writer Pesce came to via the Takashi Miike-directed 1999 horror drama Audition, another adaptation of Murakami’s writing. Another film produced by the group of artists at BorderLine Films—who return to Sundance again and again—Piercing was “a different sort of beast” for the filmmaker in comparison to his first film.

“There are structural similarities—both films have more or less no locations and very few characters. I like that kind of contained nature of films,” Pesce remarked yesterday at Deadline’s Sundance Studio, in conversation with Abbott, Wasikowska and co-star Costa. “But I think that a lot of this movie was me trying to do something different and kind of step away from things that I’d done with Eyes.”

To hear more from the team behind Piercing, take a look above.

The Deadline Studio is presented by Hyundai. Special thanks to Calii Love.