Filming has commenced in Victoria’s Beechworth asylum on horror flick Scare Campaign, the Cairnes Brothers’ second feature following their comedy horror debut 100 Bloody Acres.
“I think Scare Campaign is purer horror and a bit of a departure in that it will be much more about the suspense,” says co-director Colin Cairnes. “Thematically it’s probably a bit darker, but that’s not to say it’s not without its moments of lightness and levity.”
Scare Campaign stars Ian Meadows (The Moodys), Meegan Warner (The Veil) and Olivia Dejonge (Hiding), and hinges on a horror-themed TV prank show that pulls the ultimate hoax in order to boost dwindling ratings.
“We were watching a lot of YouTube for inspiration and looked at these overseas prank shows which pushed the boundaries of what’s perhaps acceptable for prank TV over here or in the west,” says Colin. “We thought, ‘What if one of these pranks went wrong and one of these stooges retaliated and turned the tables on the prankers? That would make for an interesting premise.’”
The Cairnes brothers are big fans of Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, Wes Craven and David Cronenberg, and hint that there will be plenty of twists and turns in store for genre fans. “We do like a good rug pull and there’s a couple in this film that will keep people guessing,” says Colin. There are so many layers, it’s absolutely metalicious!”
Following Scare Campaign, the brothers will direct Late Night with the Devil, another television-themed horror concept, this time confined to a chat show. “It’s more of a slow burn horror and it’s all set on a tonight show where things go wrong,” says Colin. “It’s a horror, but not the typical people-jumping-out-from-behind-walls kind of horror.”
“It has some gearshift in it,” says Cameron Cairnes. “You think you’re heading in one direction and that it’s going to be a certain kind of film, and then... it plays a bit with the form stylistically. It’s early days, but it’s in pretty good shape we think.”
The Cairns believe Australia should be producing more modestly budgeted, imaginative genre films rather than larger budgeted tentpole features that lure back international Aussie stars.
“We should be spending more time and energy on interesting smaller films in this country,” says Colin. “We can still make something that’s fun, entertaining and engaging that knows its audience and do it for less than these big budgeted films. Hopefully, if Scare Campaign does well we can keep doing it. Not just for us but for the whole generation of up and coming filmmakers who want to entertain audiences and shake up the industry a bit.”
Scare Campaign will be released theatrically by Bonsai Films toward the end of 2015.