Paladin releases The Unspoken at Cinema Village on October 28th, 2016.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What appeals to you about dark themes?
Sheldon Wilson: When it comes to horror films, I grew up loving the genre. I wanted to be transported to some place that was very, very different from day-to-day life. I had a great upbringing, so there wasn't anything dark in my life. Being able to go these really dark areas, I got to explore something that was very different from my day-to-day life.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How challenging was it to find moments of levity?
SW: That's probably the hardest thing. Some of that is in the script, but a lot of that is born out of the relationship between the characters and the actors. I find that those moments are best when they're organic.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How did you walk the fine line between too much gore and too little gore?
SW: It is a very, very fine line. You want the moment to feel real, but at the same time you don't want to go just for shock value. I find that a lot of the gore that we shot never made it into the movie because, for the most part, I found it to be unnecessary.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Would something be lost if this film were high budget instead of low budget?
SW: Yes, I can't speak for all horror, but I think that for this movie specifically, I wanted it to be very much a celebration of horror movies from the 70s. There was a certain vibe to them. t.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Roger Ebert once stated that horror doesn't need a big star because the horror itself is the big star. Do you agree or disagree?
SW: I absolutely agree with that. The more famous that the actor or actress is, the harder it is for the audience to get into the character's head.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Would something be lost by watching The Unspoken on the small screen?
SW: Yes, I think there's something to be said about seeing this film in a dark theater with a bunch of other people. Thankfully, at home, people have much larger TVs, but there's something about being somewhere with people that you don't know in a dark environment that definitely adds to the experience. NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you feel about the fact that over 20 films open theatrically in NYC at the same time as your film?
SW: All of that is so much out of your control once you make the film, so all you can do is make the best film that you can make, and hope that it finds its audience and that people enjoy it.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How challenging is it to know when you have the right ending for a film?
SW: It's a bit of a cliche, but it's definitely true that endings are hard.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Speaking of cliche, how do you feel about cliche? What's so wrong about cliche in a horror film?
SW: These films are made by people who love the genre. It has less to do with cliche and more to do with their love affair with horror. There's a lot in this movie that's directly from the movies that I love so much.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do feel about confusion when it comes to understanding the plot? What's so wrong about being confused?
SW: I think it depends on whether it helps you to fit into the shoes of the character. Angela, [the protaginist in The Unspoken], doesn't always have all of the answers. Not knowing everything about what's going on sometimes helps you to experience things through that character.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think are the basic elements that turn a horror film into a classic?
SW: It's something that resonates with the audience through time. When I saw Carrie, it was terrifying. If you watch it now, I'm not sure that it would be classified today as a pure horror film. It's a character study. Especially when it comes to horror, the audience will find it. That's what happened when VHS first came out.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Would The Unspoken work in black-and-white?
SW: Yes, I'd love to see it in black-and-white. What's interesting is that it's very much a daytime horror movie. 95% of it takes place in sunlight, so it definitely has the contrasts to hold up in black-and-white, I think. In a way, the color palette of the film is almost the color palette of a black-and-white film---very saturated.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think would make for a great double feature with The Unspoken?
SW: The Amityville Horror.