RWU Film Production Club shoots horror film for worldwide contest

Kayla Ivan, Herald Contributor

Among scary movies and candy, mystery lurks as the RWU Film Production Club proudly presents a short horror film, perfectly fit for the Halloween season.

The film, titled “Take Me Out,” centers around three characters living in an 1800s “cult gang.” Taking place in the woods, the film was inspired by the thriller “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, as the characters hunt down people in a game of life or death. The overall film focuses on a man and the audience is unsure of whether he is in the game or not. It’s a mystery only to be solved by watching the three minute thriller. 

In the film, senior Devon Kaplan acts in the lead role while sophomore Joseph Brown and freshmen Jackson Lower and Conner Nugent play the hunters. Sophomore Jacob Lucas is the dead man while senior Sarah Barkowski plays the victim.

Behind the scenes working the camera was freshman Samuel Aquavia, while sophomore Adam Zerman acted as camera assistant and director. Seniors Ian Malloy and Rosie Stevens took on the role of creative directors. Senior Ryan Dobrowski worked on set design, along with Alex Cole, a senior from Mt. Hope High School. Hunter McPherson, a senior from New England Institute of Technology, helped as the technical assistant.

The Film Production Club found out about a competition for Halloween films a few weeks ago and wanted to put their scary movie skills to the test. They will submit the film to the Jakob Owens’ Short Film Competition. Requirements for the short film included staying under three minutes in length, incorporating the word ‘Boo’ into the movie, and doing it all in one take — a daunting task for participants.

Rosie Stevens, president of the club, described how the whole club came up with the concept during a meeting and wrote the story as a group effort. Starting with four ideas, the club found this one proved most realistic to create on short notice and determined it would be the easiest to film in one take.

Production took place on the shell path at dusk with only a camera, a few props and Public Safety’s approval. Using special effects, makeup and costume pieces, they shot the short thriller without much rehearsal prior. The spur of the moment idea for the film called for a low budget with costumes, props and party store makeup.

In order to prepare, camera shots were planned before shooting to ensure a single smooth take. Stevens pointed out the precision needed to get the final product they wanted: “…it was almost like a choreographed dance so that we knew who was doing what at what point.” 

One of the factors of the fast production was working with a live fire; not a ton of wood was gathered, so the shooting had to be done as quickly as possible before the fire went out. 

Stevens was behind the scenes for this production, making sure all stayed on track on-screen. Once the club met to edit their footage, they realized most of what they recorded was not great and needed a lot of work. The executive decision was made to only submit the last five seconds of the film to Owens’ contest. This segment includes Kaplan holding a bat with the word ‘boo’ on it. The camera focuses on him and then pans to the moon. 

Although the footage did not come out as expected, the club is optimistic about what they will submit. There is already talk within the club about reshooting the film later on this year and making it into a bigger movie.

For now, the five second submission will be uploaded to the club’s Instagram (@rwu_filmproduction) and YouTube (Rwufilmproduction) accounts on Oct. 25. The redo of the initial film will in time be posted on Instagram as well.

As a whole, the club agrees that this change in plans shows how unpredictable filming can be. Being able to change and adapt new ideas is essential. This club is proof that obstacles should not ruin high hopes.