Nefarious Poster

An exciting week for writer-director Richard Rowntree and Ash Mountain Films as their second feature, the home invasion horror thriller NEFARIOUS hit its £20k target on Kickstarter with almost a week still to run of their crowd-funding campaign.

This follows the news that their debut feature film, the multi award-winning folk horror DOGGED, now has a release date of 9th July from Left Films, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Director Richard Rowntree

Richard Rowntree picking up an award at Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, Nov 2017

And, although the filmmakers can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that their extensive efforts to reach and engage their audience, persuading them to swap their cash for some rather tasty rewards (everything from downloads, mugs and actual props, to set visits, screening tickets and producer credits) now mean that NEFARIOUS will be able to go into production very soon, the team are not the type to sit back and rest on their laurels.

Instead, they’re pulling out all the stops, making the most of the final few days of the campaign – which ends at 4.36pm on Friday 18th May – and encouraging backers to keep pledging and unlocking new rewards on their ‘Stretch’ Goals. This means more rehearsal time with the cast, better equipment rentals and a more convincing set build.

Check  out home invasion horror thriller NEFARIOUS’ crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter

Richard Rowntree recently chatted with Horror Island’s Dan Collacott, saying:

“What struck us is the place that people feel the need to be safest is in their own homes, so we thought that would be a good way to exploit those fears, by having a home invasion movie. But we didn’t want to make something formulaic, so we livened things up a bit and it’s told from the point-of-view of the people breaking into the house, rather than the people it’s happening to.”

Nefarious is already 90% cast with, says Richard, “a fabulous guy called Toby Wynn-Davies, who played the villain in Dogged, he’s coming back with us in a big role. Greg Smith as well… Nadia Lamin … both were in Dogged. And we’ve got a couple of new people we’re really excited to work with – Abbey Gillet and a guy called Aaron Thomas Ward, who horror fans might know.  He’s the star of the CryptTV short film called The Birch – it’s had, I think, about 4.5m views on YouTube. That’s another [with] a kind of folk horror vibe to it. He’s a great upcoming actor.

Aaron Thomas Ward stars in home invasion horror thriller NEFARIOUS (dir. Richard Rowntree)

Aaron Thomas Ward, known to horror fans for the short film BIRCH on CryptTV, will take the lead role of Darren in NEFARIOUS (dir. Richard Rowntree)

“The important thing for us, I think, is working with people who are fully engaged with the project.  Nobody on our film gets paid a penny, which is really unusual, and we’re quite stringent about that. They’re doing it because of the love of filmmaking and, hopefully, the actors are doing it because they’ve got confidence in the fact that we’re going to produce something that’s worthwhile for them. Giving them leading roles in a feature film, it’s a chance that they’re taking as much as it is anything else, because they could be out there, taking paid work … but hopefully they’ve got confidence in the script.”

Sometimes, you have to turn to crime.  Sometimes, it turns on you.

NEFARIOUS tells the story of four ne’er-do-wells, living in poverty on a sink estate, indebted to the local criminal kingpin.  As they take matters in their own hands with a somewhat questionable solution, they find themselves in way over their heads and ‘will be tested to their limits in a desperate attempt to survive a predator of monstrous proportions.’

Says Richard: “We make it very clear, right from the off, that these are unpleasant people, but we’re gonna force you to side with them because the kind of threat that comes upon them is something even more abhorrent, and we’ve kind of tried to play with a few different genre tropes, as it were.”

Nefarious. It means extremely wicked or villainous.

As with Dogged, “There’s a little bit of ambiguity with both of them [the films] about which characters in the story the titles relate to”, explains Richard. “There’s the extremely wicked or villainous that comes out in all of us when you’re faced with a situation where you’ve got to try and survive, and the lengths that you’ll go to to do that.”

Richard, who co-writes the script with Matthew Davies, is a big fan of unexpected, often bleak endings, the type that leave you wondering. He points to the fact that being a totally independent production allows them to “push the envelope”. He says:

“Because we’re not financed by a studio or private investors, who are looking to make their money back, we’re kind of lucky in that we can do those kind of endings and we make these movies because we’re guys in our mid to late thirties and we make movies that we want to watch  ourselves.”

Judging by the success of their Nefarious Kickstarter crowding campaign, there are a lot more who want to watch them too.

Listen to the full podcast interview with Richard Rowntree

Horror Island writer Dan Collacott talks to Richard Rowntree about his experiences making the critically acclaimed folk horror movie Dogged, from writing, filming, casting, on set revelations and some of the secrets behind his new project – twisted home invasion movie Nefarious.

Back NEFARIOUS on Kickstarter

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