In Jeffrey Reddick’s new film, Don’t Look Again, a bunch of strangers stand and watch as a person is overwhelmed to loss of life in a public park. Somebody films the homicide and the clip goes viral. The witnesses are named and shamed on TV by the sufferer’s brother, then they begin dying, one after the other …
To date, so superficially acquainted to Reddick’s most well-known creation, Final Destination, the slasher film that cuts out the intermediary. As a substitute of teenagers being chased by psychos like Freddy or Jason, the bogeyman is loss of life itself. The endlessly exploitable franchise formulation (5 films and counting; a reboot in the works) is somebody having a premonition that results in a bunch of individuals dodging a dreadful disaster, just for loss of life to select off them off later in a karmic balancing of the books.
In Don’t Look Again, although, most of the deaths happen off display screen. “I knew it was going to be in comparison with Final Destination, particularly since I deal thematically with karma, however I needed this to be one thing totally different,” says Reddick. “However I couldn’t do these wonderful loss of life scenes, as a result of I didn’t wish to give away what’s going on.”
Don’t Look Again began out as a brief by which the central character was the man who films the homicide, however for the full-length characteristic Reddick, who’s biracial, modified the protagonist to a younger black girl who has her personal causes for not intervening.
In the 90s, when Reddick was attempting to get appearing work, his agent advised him he was “an ethnic Michael J Fox sort”. “And I’m like: that’s wonderful! All people loves Michael J Fox! And he or she’s like: yeah, however they don’t write roles for ethnic Michael J Fox varieties. Since I didn’t rap or play basketball, she didn’t know what to do with me. So, I’ve been conscious for a very long time how they all the time find yourself casting white actors.”
Reddick grew up in Jackson, Kentucky, the place the inhabitants was “99.9%” white – and out homosexual individuals had been additionally in a definite minority. He ordered movies of Maurice and One other Nation. “So I grew up pondering I acquired to discover a good English chap and we’re simply going to reside in a cottage in the rolling hills of London.”
But it surely was at the drive-in that he noticed the movie that modified his life. “I fell in love with A Nightmare on Elm Avenue and needed to write down an element for me – and, in fact, the objective was to be the first biracial centrefold in TV Information.”
At the age of 14, he wrote a Nightmare prequel and despatched it to Bob Shaye at New Line Cinema; he saved in contact with Shaye and, after faculty, labored at New Linefor a decade. Sooner or later, he learn an article “a couple of girl who was on trip and her mom known as her and mentioned: ‘Don’t take the flight dwelling tomorrow. I’ve a nasty feeling about it.’” She switched flights and the first aircraft crashed. However the studio couldn’t wrap its head round the concept that loss of life was the killer in his script.
“‘For those who’re not going to point out it, we don’t perceive what the individuals are preventing.’ And that’s the complete level! You may’t struggle loss of life!” Fortuitously, the director James Wong was emphatic about not exhibiting a Grim Reaper character operating spherical with a scythe. As a substitute, loss of life’s method is conveyed by a rippling breeze, shadows, mounting unease, earlier than claiming its victims in merciless and strange methods, remodeling seemingly innocuous on a regular basis objects into elaborate traps that finish with the luckless sufferer crushed or decapitated.
The course of may virtually be a metaphor for storytelling, by which the author should discover connective tissue to weave random occasions right into a coherent narrative. The objects are additionally memento mori for the fashionable world, none extra salutary than the terrifying freeway pile-up at the begin of Final Destination 2. The inciting incident was initially going to be a lodge fireplace, till Reddick discovered himself driving dwelling behind a log truck. “I pulled off the highway and known as the producer and he mentioned: ‘That’s it!’”
The log truck has since develop into a preferred web meme. “Consider what number of lives I’ve saved over the years by having individuals not drive behind log vehicles!” says Reddick. The films are peppered with such warnings: look each methods earlier than you step into the highway, all the time use a non-slip bathmat, by no means pour freezing vodka right into a scorching mug.
I inform Reddick about Apaches and other 70s public-information films that traumatised a technology of British youngsters; he tells me how Individuals had been freaked out by their very own variations. “The one I keep in mind was while you’re getting on the college bus and so they advised you to not stand on a snowy hill. They confirmed a child sliding underneath the bus and getting run over. That’s the one which caught in my head.”
After the interview, I observe down the brief in query. It’s Death Zones (1975) by Gene Starbecker, the Stanley Kubrick of college bus disasters. His films are embryonic Final Locations: tense buildups, voiceovers hinting at the horrors to come back. “Watch now and see in case you can detect the seemingly harmless components that can trigger Emma’s loss of life.” Memento mori, children. Watch your step.