If you’re in Tribeca and come across a film titled Hounds of Love, be warned—those hounds might bite you. Ben Young’s directorial debut is short on love, and seeped in tension. Psychologically violent, the Australia-set feature tells the story of Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings), a young woman kidnapped by her serial killer neighbors (played by Emma Booth and Stephen Curry) in the suburbs of Perth.
Coming from a background in comedy, Curry found himself confronted with a character who couldn’t be less familiar to him, but ultimately embraced the challenge and the fun of playing the villain. “For me, it was a completely ‘fish out of water’ sort of thing. I certainly don’t get offered these sorts of things, so it was a great thing for me to be able to just kind of have a chance to sink into a character that is completely alien to me,” he says. “There are no boundaries for the bad people. For that, it was certainly a very intriguing prospect.”
Initially turning down the project, Booth was equally reluctant to enter into such a dark feature and psychological space, though she ultimately found herself marveling at Young’s vision and creative process. “It’s my favorite role to date, hands down, and my favorite film I’ve ever [done]. And seeing Ben’s vision come to life, as well, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, that’s what we were making,’” the actress says. “It was bloody hard, and it was draining, emotionally, but because of the love between us all, that’s why we got the film we did.”
“These kind of films could very easily go into very voyeuristic territory, and to use the word ‘torture porn,’ which has kind of been thrown around about this sort of genre,” Curry adds. “[Young]’s a master of actually not showing what he might, and that, in itself, is more powerful. He’s employing that theater of the mind, and along with the incredible score from Dan Luscombe, it’s a very claustrophobic and very intense piece of filmmaking.”
To see the trio of cast members discuss their rehearsal process and the challenging physical work they did together, watch Deadline’s exclusive video above. Showtimes for the film—which has already screened internationally on the festival circuit, and continues to play at Tribeca—can be found here.