Torn Together is a short experimental horror film directed by Atlanta-based filmmaker and actress Melissa Kunnap (The Evil Inside Her (2019), and written by Kunnap and co-writers/co-creators Frances Chang (Willard (2017) and Ava Davis (Give me an A (2022). The film is shot with a stripped-down production design. Much like a basic set design for a stage play. The focus is on the performers and uses key set pieces.
Creative expression can most definitely be therapeutic. Many of our cherished favorites were essentially the products of trauma and fears from horror’s most beloved writers and directors. As a result, there’s no shortage of social commentary. Experimental horror is also a great place for it.
TORN TOGETHER Synopsis
The story of Torn Together is about three characters, each with their struggles for acceptance in the community, which ultimately impacts the acceptance of self. The question of “Who am I?” Is raised in the face of how others perceive them versus how they perceive themselves.
From the Director
Torn Together is a personal project five years in the making. What started as a solo project exploring my own struggles with my biracial identity, evolved into a collaborative project with two amazing women creating the film that is Torn Together. I fell in love with the experimental genre and its unique ability to explore concepts through visuals and sound to capture specific emotions. Torn Together at its core is about the real-life experiences that make three people question who and what they are.
All of the dialogue in this film, are real statements that have been said to us or something we’ve said to ourselves. From the most simple and innocuous comments to the heinous insults and slurs, each made us question our identity. We are all lucky enough to have had something or someone that helped us find our way. My hope for this film is that it can serve as a beacon of solidarity for anyone struggling with their identity.
From the Writers and Co-Creators
Torn Together is about the inner struggle of finding your true identity. Being a part of this project illustrates the conflict many first-generation offspring of immigrants face when trying to assimilate to the social norms of their peers while trying to live up to the cultural expectations of their parents and family.
It’s deeply meaningful to be able to create this film with my friends, Melissa and Ava, who have their own individual conflicts with identity. By telling our stories, we are able to share our unique struggles in a way that many others are able to relate to in their own journeys.
Torn Together was incredibly healing to not only write but also to make with these incredible women. For me, the importance lies in how we’re able to use film, and especially the genre of horror, to tackle our own fears and traumas, and find a way to release them.
I feel like this short encapsulates so well the feeling I have of being torn between my male and female identities, and energies, and so fully and succinctly showcases the journey I’ve taken in self-realization.
Torn Together – Final Thoughts
I see a lot of discussion on social media. People speak about things that have nothing to do with them. Or things that don’t directly impact them. I always wonder how we existed before being privy to everyone’s private thoughts. Gossip among family, neighbors, and coworkers all had similar themes. And likely had similar effects, as the people who were subject to them eventually found out. Thus shaping the clouded perception of self.
Social constructs shape society, but they’re also always changing. We have the power to change them for the better. To treat each other with at least a level of basic decency. Everyone has a sense of identity, but the unfortunate thing is that unless it’s what the majority is, you’re told you’re wrong. And in the case of so many specific groups, it’s believed you don’t have the right to exist unless you fit the majority.
My hope with this wonderful opportunity to write for PopHorror is not to be a downer, not to poop on anyone’s personal joys. I simply want to share different perspectives within a community that, at times, believes that there’s only one way to exist in it.
Torn Together is one of those films that hit me in such a way that I cried. There’s a lot of scary stuff going on right outside my door. In my community. And it’s hard to just ignore. It shouldn’t be ignored. But it’s also hard to deal with. You do what you can, and thankfully have artistic escapes that either help you exercise the demons (so to speak) or make you feel seen and maybe even held.