The 2013 remake of Evil Dead was one of our most highly anticipated movies of 2013. The movie did exceptionally well as a horror genre film. Movies.com sat down with Fede Alvarez and had a very candid chat about the film and why he ditched a big budget film for his smaller follow-up project ‘Don’t breathe’.
He set out to make another modestly budgeted horror movie about three teenagers who choose the wrong house to break into. Don’t Breathe recently had its world premiere at the SXSW film festival, which is where we chatted with him about how his intense, crafty, creative follow-up to Evil Dead and his ideas about Hollywood in general.
Alvarez: “I personally stayed away from bigger things. There’s a tendency to believe you’ve always got to go bigger and that’s some American, Ronald Reagan bullshit I don’t believe. It’s not like that. You’ve got to do the stories you believe in, no matter what it is. After Evil Dead there were a lot of conversations and pressures to go make those big Hollywood movies, because Evil Dead did make a lot of money for its studios and that’s the main thing they care about. But I knew that wasn’t my path. I knew that wasn’t the place I wanted to be.
“When you make those movies, you have to have a big body of work. You have to have a lot of gravitas so when you’re in the room with producers and executives they trust you because you have the body of work to back it up. There are very few directors who survive the process totally intact, and those are people like James Cameron and those kind of guys. They can handle it. But you’ve seen how Hollywood loves to take young filmmakers who just made a movie that kind of worked and take them in, chew them up and spit them out with a big movie that’s a disaster and they don’t work ever again. I feel like this was a smart choice for me.”
On where the idea for Don’t Breathe came from:
Alvarez: “We started off with simply wanting to tell a story with robbers. They live bigger adventures than we do. Every day for a criminal is a challenge. They live adventures. They could get caught, they could get shot, anything could happen. Despite how much we love to hate them, most of them do it because it’s the only thing they can do. At least that’s the case where I come from. If you’re a criminal in Los Angeles, maybe you have some other choices than being an outlaw, but where I’m from most people do it because that’s the only way they can make money. So we thought that it would be the same scenario in a city like Detroit. So after that, we had to figure out what kind of antagonist we could create for them. I forget if it was me or my co-writer, but one of us said ‘He’s gotta be blind.’
“I think some of the best cat and mouse stories I remember have a character who isn’t here the entire time. It seemed to come out of the air and we thought not only does this work, but it let’s us make some really unique set pieces if he’s blind.”
Don’t Breathe hits theaters on August 26, 2016.