The children of the night get a well-deserved rest with the completion of filming in Los Angeles on RISE, an intriguing new supernatural feature from writer/director Sebastian (GOTHIKA) Gutierrez and Ghost House Pictures. CHARLIE’S ANGELS’ Lucy Liu (pictured) headlines the film alongside FANTASTIC FOUR’s Michael Chiklis, with James D’Arcy, Carla Gugino, Robert Forster, Cameron Richardson, and Marilyn Manson rounding out the cast. Greg (HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE) Shapiro and Carsten (THE GRUDGE) Lorenz are producing, while two-time Academy Award winner (for LEGENDS OF THE FALL and BRAVEHEART) John Toll handles the cinematography.
The premise has reporter Sadie Blake (Liu) reluctantly joining the ranks of the undead after an unfortunate encounter with a cult of vampires; unable to reverse her condition, she decides to seek revenge by hunting down and destroying the cult members over the course of 48 hours, with the help of a troubled police detective (Chiklis) who lost a daughter to the same monstrous group. Although RISE is clearly rooted in horror, Gutierrez says the film’s vibe is closer to classic film noir. “The story itself is very simple, but it’s told in a non-linear fashion,” he tells Fango. “And hopefully, it has a very nightmarish and relentless quality. It’s very bleak noir, like John Boorman’s POINT BLANK.”
Gutierrez adds that vampire fans expecting the usual cape-and-fangs ensemble will find that RISE’s bloodsuckers hew a lot closer to the more humanlike fiends found in films such as NEAR DARK and THE HUNGER, two pictures which he cites as having influenced RISE. “There are some conventions that we keep—I’m not trying to reinvent the vampire movie,” he explains. “I’m just taking out the elements that I find silly. Nobody says, ‘I’ve been around for 300 years’ in this movie.
“We’re walking around a lot of potential landmines—we don’t want to go into an Anne Rice Gothic/romantic terrain, or an UNDERWORLD/Ridley Scott sort of thing,” Gutierrez continues. “I’m not knocking those movies, because they’ve all been done very well, but we’re trying to do something that’s more like a modern-day noir. It’s very stylized, because it’s horror—all the colors are very saturated. We’re keeping away from the usual look you see in these movies, which is that steely-grey, industrial sort of thing.” However, RISE is not without its share of bloodshed; KNB EFX is on board to handle special FX. “It’s also very decadent and sexual,” advises Gutierrez.
RISE is not Gutierrez’s first go-round in the horror/thriller genres; in addition to penning GOTHIKA, he also wrote and directed HBO’s SHE CREATURE and the feature JUDAS KISS (both starring Gugino). And as he heads into postproduction on RISE, he is also completing scripting work on Hideo Nakata’s anticipated U.S. remake of THE EYE for Cruise/Wagner (see item here), and PACIFIC AIR FLIGHT 121, starring Samuel L. Jackson and a bunch of venomous snakes. Watch for a full set report on RISE and a further interview with Gutierrez in future issues of FANGORIA.