PopHorror Interviews Patrick Rea, Director of the Creature Feature, Arbor Demon

In the last year, I’ve met so many wonderful directors who have genuine talent and know how to deliver a story that captures that audience from beginning to end. Patrick Rea is one of those directors. I had the privilege of talking with him about his love for filmmaking, where he got the idea for the amazing creature feature Arbon Demon, and much more.

patrick rea

PopHorror – Thanks for taking the time to talk with PopHorror, Patrick! What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Patrick Rea – I grew up in a small town in Nebraska and watched a lot of movies growing up. I loved films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws, so those were the first films that inspired me. I didn’t really catch the filmmaking bug till high school in the ’90s. I was given the opportunity to make cheesy little videos for a channel that broadcasted from the high school to everyone who had cable in my town.

PopHorror – I love both of those films. That’s an awesome opportunity though! What was the first film you ever worked on?

Patrick Rea – I was a production assistant for a few days on the Alexander Payne film Election when I was 17. It was definitely an eye-opening experience. I remember being amazed at how long each camera set up took. (Laughs)

PopHorror – I can only imagine how long that process takes. Where did you get the idea behind your new film, Arbor Demon?

Patrick Rea – I have always enjoyed camping and have been interested in making a film set in the woods for some time. I just wanted to take it in an original direction by having a good portion of the story occur within the tent. Michelle Davidson and I then started working on the script in 2012. Around this time, my wife was pregnant with our first child, so a lot of the anxieties that come with first time motherhood and fatherhood found their way into the story.

PopHorror – Ahhh, I love that your inspiration came from that. Tell us more about the film.

Patrick Rea – The film is very much a slow burn claustrophobic horror/suspense film, which is also a creature feature. The story deals with a young couple setting off on a camping trip to reconnect. Along the way, we discover that Dana (Fiona Dourif) is pregnant and hiding this fact from her husband, Charles (Kevin Ryan).

One night, the couple is sleeping in their tent, not far from a group of rowdy hunters. Without warning, an unseen creature attacks the hunters’ camp. Dana and Charles are able to save one wounded survivor, Sean (Jake Busey). For unknown reasons, the creature won’t attack the tent, so the three characters find themselves trapped inside. Over the course of the film, tensions rise inside the enclosure as they plan their escape. I don’t want to say much more… (Laughs)

PopHorror – What’s the story behind the film’s other title, Enclosure?

Patrick Rea – The original title of the film was Enclosure. It was changed when the film received a distribution with Gravitas Ventures. The goal was to have a new title that started with an “A” in order for it to be more visible on Video On Demand platforms like DirectTV, Comcast, and AT&T-Uverse. They also wanted to make it clearer to the audience that the film is a creature feature. However, the film has kept its original title for its recent UK release.

PopHorror – Ahh, makes sense. How did you go about casting?

Patrick Rea – We went through a Casting Director in Los Angeles. I was already in Charleston, South Carolina, prepping the shoot while we were casting. The production was between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Kevin Ryan was first to be cast based off of a great audition. Fiona Dourif was brought on next. I was a big fan of her work after seeing Curse of Chucky and was thrilled that she connected to the material. Jake Busey was the final actor cast almost a week out from production.

PopHorror – All of the actors gave phenomenal performances. I especially love Fiona’s character as well. Arbor Demon is shot in a beautiful area. Where was the location?

Patrick Rea – We shot the film in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a great place to film. Terrific scenery and the area has a lot of amazing history. Originally, the film was written to be shot in the Ozarks in Missouri, but because of financing and other factors, we moved the shoot to Charleston. Because of the location change, we altered the creatures backstory to directly connect with the culture of the South Carolina low country.

PopHorror – It worked out wonderfully. Any fun on-the-set/off-the-set moments?

Patrick Rea – Well, the shoot was very fast. Principal photography was 12 days, so a lot of it is a blur. One comical challenge we had was that Jake Busey is very tall and takes up a large portion of the tent. He spends a great deal of the film sitting with his leg bandaged. We also had the other two actors, the camera, and several crew members inside, so it became very tight.  Whenever Jake needed to go to the bathroom, it would be an almost thirty-minute break for everyone since we had to get him out of the tent, along with camera and crew. Once he was back, we had to do his wardrobe and bandages, along with getting gear and crew back inside.

PopHorror – Holy crap! I had no clue he was that tall. It’s the little things like that make a big difference, huh? Do you think there could be a sequel in the future?

Patrick Rea – Personally, I don’t see a sequel in the future. I wanted this film to be its own self-contained story. But you never know.

PopHorror – It definitely doesn’t need a sequel; it stands strong on its own. Do you have any other projects in the works?

Patrick Rea – I’m working on several projects right now. I’m writing and directing for a CBS family show titled The Inspectors which starts production on its 3rd season this summer. I’m also in post on a family film I directed tentatively titled Belong to Us.

As for horror, Michelle Davidson and I have a feature we’re trying to get off the ground that is a new take on the imaginary friend horror film. I’m also working on a long-gestating sequel to my other feature, Nailbiter, which has been airing for the last several years on NBC/Universals CHILLER Network and the UK’s Horror Channel.

PopHorror – So many projects – that’s exciting and I look forward to all of them! Anything else you’d like to talk about?

Patrick Rea – Arbor Demon will be exclusively on HULU on June 4th.  The film has also been released on digital platforms in the UK under its original title Enclosure and will be having a UK DVD release in August.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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