Is sublime horror a new subgenre or a more bizarre name for a psychological thriller? This expression continues to dismiss many debates in the horror community about how to classify films that focus on dramatic elements rather than bloody and jumping. Regardless of terminology, this specific type of horror is experiencing a resurgence in both the film industry and the box office. Ari Aster MidsomarJordan Peel Get outand Robert Eggers Lighthouse are recent examples of hits in the horror subgenre.
The latest record that seeks to break into the subgenre Double, the story of a mother played by Teresa Palmer, who has to face her worst nightmare, losing one of her twin sons. If Rachel moves to Finland with her husband (Stephen Cree) and surviving son, she must defeat the evil forces that are trying to resist and own her child. Double This is the English-language debut of writer and director Taneli Mustonen, who also co-wrote the film with Alexi Huverinen.
Digital Trends spoke with Mustonen and Huverinen Doubleorigins in a Korean Film FestivalFinnish mythology, collaborating with lead actress Theresa Palmer, and their appreciation for Aster films.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Digital Trends: Your last collaboration was a 2020 comedy Repair. Why go back to the horror with Double?
Tanelli Mustonen: Oh, what a wonderful question.
Alexi Huverinen: We ever left [laughing]?
I will say you took a break.
Tanelli Mustonen: Yes, that’s true. I worked with Alexi and we run the company together. We started as writers and met at film school. He studied to be a producer and I studied to be a director. And we kind of took it from there. Our first film was actually family-like, like ten years ago. He wrote it, and I’m the director.
I think, in answering your question, we love movies. At the time in Finland my parents had several cinemas, so these two genres, horror and comedy, from a childish point of view, were the best. From the projection hall you can see what people were afraid of, shouting or laughing together. [on me]. We have worked on many comedy projects and have now made two horror films.
The first, Lake Bodom, was the first horror film in 10 years from Finland. It’s really hard to get funding here for horror. Hopefully that will change. But, it is [Lake Bodom] became what became, and here we are. It was so funny. After Lake Bodom, we were invited along with the film to South Korea for this wonderful festival. They said, “Guys, we have a movie market where you sell your next horror ideas. Do you want to join? ” And, of course, we were like, “My God! Are we going to make another horror movie? ” So we’re exposing something, and it’s kind of the origins Double.
Ever since you started touching on that, that’s been an inspiration Double? How did this project start?
Alexi Huverinen: We were in place after Lake Bodom where he traveled very well for a Finnish short horror film. People really liked it both in Finland and abroad. We had the opportunity to go to South to southwest, and before that the Korean Film Festival. Basically, to go to South Korea, we needed to have the concept of a new horror movie. We didn’t have it, so we basically hit our heads against the wall for two weeks in our office.
Finally we came up with both a raw idea about twins. I think it started with the fact that we are both parents and fathers. In fact, we just started talking about what would be the scariest thing you could face. I said it was obvious to lose a child or something to happen to a child. This is definitely something you can’t live with as a parent. When you give birth to your first child, care enters your life and it never leaves. I thought it was some kind of starting point we took.
We needed to have a project for Korea. We went there and it was huge. It was both the largest Asian genre film festival with all local buyers and a large number of directors, horror buyers and genre experts from around the world. We basically started telling the story. We had about five lines. During the event it has grown to 10 lines. Finally people asked us questions like, “Is that right? It was good. “We were like, ‘Yeah, that’s right. That’s all.’ ? And obviously you know, be careful what you want, because when we came back to Finland, we actually had to write the script, and it took a while.
But for us, many horror movies have the same starting point of losing a child. But we really wanted to dive into it and make it a story of grief and the way you handle it, not just use it as a setting for history. [We wanted to] talk about it and how it affects your mind and how it really changes you and everyone around you. I think that was the whole landmark throughout the process.
I would classify Double like sublime horror. Now there is a great renaissance in heightened horror. I look at that Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, and Jordan Peel do. Why do you think this type of horror resonates so well in the audience, and why did you choose this genre?
Alexi Huverinen: They are amazing directors.
Tanelli Mustonen: Basically, I think it comes down to the fact that we come from a country that is in complete darkness for a few months [laughing]. You know, if you think about our musical taste, it’s no wonder that black metal originated in the Scandinavian countries. I think these are such similar elements … and of course the mythology we grew up with. Christianity is quite young compared to the myths and folklore we were taught in school. Many of them were related to nature.
If you [Americans] open the door, we usually joke that you worry about transport and rush hour. We have to worry about wolves and bears, and sometimes, I guess, even about dragons [laughing]. We have always felt that there is such a Nordic flair. With the names you mentioned Ari Aster and Egers they all see that we have a really rich pagan culture. We can say that it is quite strange that we live here. But with this project, when we started writing it, we felt compelled. We really delved into mythology. Our next horror project definitely deals with those amazing stories we grew up with, told by our parents, their parents, ancestors and others.
With fears inside Double, it feels very intimate because a lot of them fit in the house. Did you create it this way or did you have to configure it due to COVID restrictions?
Alexi Huverinen: I guess we were a little lucky with the limitations of COVID in the sense that the story has always been very concise. It’s a lot about isolation. Obviously, it’s all about the main character Rachel and her feelings. It has always been important to us how remote, isolated it is. In that sense, we didn’t have to get rid of any huge scenes with a lot of people or anything else. So it was fun. But we filmed during the block, so it was a new experience.
Tanelli Mustonen: You take off your mask at the premiere we had three weeks ago, and suddenly you look at the film crew like, “Oh, it’s you.” Such things.
Alexi Huverinen: “Oh, he has a mustache. I didn’t know! “
It’s like a recovery in society.
Tanelli Mustonen: Yes, that’s right.
How did Teresa Palmer join the project?
Tanelli Mustonen: Well, it was just an amazing, amazing adventure. Only from this one could write a wonderful, exciting adventure script. It took almost two years to complete the script. We were very helped by my dear colleagues and friends. We went to these workshops around the world and got very good reviews and ideas. Then our script started going. It was crazy. Our agents and managers in Los Angeles said, “Okay, I think everything’s fine.” It was such an amazing time. We worked on this comedy. Double filmed in the same area where we filmed the comedy. We just felt that the architecture and surroundings we have in Estonia are so close to the ideas that we had in the script. Nature and an isolated community, everything just clicked differently.
So what happened to Teresa, one day her agent called us and he said, “Guys, Teresa wants to talk to you.” And of course, we’re just two guys from Finland, and we thought, “Well, maybe she’s just thinking of reading the script and wants to have such an early meeting or something on the phone.” As soon as she answered the call, she said, “I read the script, now twice, and talked to my husband all night about this hero and this story.” She really got it.
It was an amazing collaboration from day one on set. On the first day she came there so prepared. She knew the hero much better than us. We were impressed, like everyone on our team. It was such pure joy. Once I said “action” and looked at my monitor in the tent, I was basically watching a movie. All I needed was popcorn.
The film has a scene where Rachel is all dressed in white with blood coming from her mouth and belly. This group throws her into a pond. It’s very awful, but very effective. Whether it was religious worship or an appeal to something Child Rosemary or Exorcist?
Tanelli Mustonen: Ah, probably. As I said, we did our homework and researched quite a bit and immersed ourselves in those pagan beliefs that we were taught in school and with which we grew up. And besides, the Internet is a great place to find the weirdest things no one told you at school. Yes, of course, if Ari Aster Midsomar Went out, we said, “My God … It was an idea that we also had.”
Alexi Huverinen: By then we had already written the script. So it was kind of funny.
Tanelli Mustonen: It was such an amazing movie [Midsommar]. With such a scene [in The Twin], we just wanted to open a box with what the Black Mass is from here and what it could be. It was crazy. I liked the music we had. We had this wonderful composer, Mr. Aalzio, and we listened to all our favorite black metal bands from the late 80s and early 90s such as Mayhem, Darkthrone and Emperor. It was such a combination of it all.
With Teresa we wanted to make sure that when people watch this movie and go through what she is going through during the Black Mass, they are completely engrossed in believing in the same thing as her. That something sinister is happening here. I think it makes the scene, the whole sequence, a lot scarier and psychologically twisted, weird and weird.
Double will be in theaters on demand and broadcast on Shudder from May 6.
The Gemini directors are about the application of Finnish culture in horror
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