Interview With Director Judson Vaughn And Screen Writer Chris Barnes: Burn

Written by Luke Barnes

I recently had the chance to interview director Judson Vaughn and screen writer Chris Barnes  about their new film Burn, which sees a young boy born into a world of societal panic and hidden truths. We discuss media representations, nature vs nurture and classic horror. As always I hope you enjoy.

Q: What was the message you wanted this film to send?

A: Chris: In the original story, the setting, in my mind, was a lot more working class and no frills; not the grand, rural landscape it ended up becoming – the idea being psychopathic serial killers didn’t have to be these completely cut-off and detached characters. They could be living right next door, only a thin layer of bricks away. The story evolved as myself and Judson worked on my initial idea and script to something much more grand but that’s how it began.   

Judson: That how everything can seem so normal beneath a veneer, whilst trying to convey a subtle sense of former glory (the house and family) of a bygone era as well as crumbling murderous ways – the end of a murderous bloodline… or is it?? 🙂

Q: The film often comments on the nature of worry and panic what inspired this choice?

A: Chris: I guess it came from how the media (and whom they’re driven by), in the main, thrives on fear to keep control. While an active serial killer is an extreme example, I feel that awful events and ‘stories’ are almost welcomed by certain parties to keep people scared and compliant.

Q: The child in the film is essentially born from the sins of the parents in what way do you think this is reflective of early childhood?

A: Chris: I suppose it’s the old ‘nature versus nurture’ debate. Does Charlie learn this behaviour purely from DVDs? It’s doubtful. External influences and a million other things play their part too, and not knowing exactly what they are is why such dark stories and characters are so fun, I guess. 

Judson: I think it can and does happen, but we have to remind ourselves and remain respectful, mindful of the fact that a child is its own person essentially, certainly even more once grown up of course… and separate of their parents afflictions – they deserve that separatist thought, they can’t’ be blamed for their parents wrong doings. However… I think there’s always the debate that rages on, about being a product of your environment or not, or rather, how much of an influence it might have been. It was fascinating to explore these themes within BURN.

Q: What inspired you to make this film?

A: Chris: Judson did! I had a story and a rough script and was in contact with Judson for something completely different. I happened to mention to him I had these things and being the boundless, creative crackpot he is, he said “Let’s make it!” I didn’t have a clue. So it’s down to him. What a bastard.
Judson: Hahaha! Chris’s story made me do it. I’m glad we turned it into a red hot multi-award winning shock fest!

Q: Do you have any funny on-set stories?

A: Judson: Yeah, some of the actors got to torcher the director in a memorable scene. I think they really enjoyed that part. I’m in that scene obviously, say no more.

Q: Future plans and projects?

A: Judson: As BURN continues to cinder- its last couple of film fests are approaching (probably Frostbiter next in Iceland) I’m putting together a short dark drama that laughs loudly in the dark called ‘Little Terrors’ we’ll be fundraising this one and also currently raising money for a new feature crime-drama/action called TRIGGER.

Q: What is your favourite horror film?
A: Judson: The Shining – all time fave. Class. I’m always up for a re-watch, just brilliant.

Q: Are any of your own experiences influencing the creation and style of the film?
A: Judson: I guess it’s inevitable, along the way somewhere it will happen, whatever type of film I might make, everything around us can be an inspiration of sorts or subtle influence… I mean if… if you let it… if you want it to be. Let it flow.

Q: Do you have any words for future filmmakers who may be influenced by your work?

A: Judson: Get inspired. Find that inspiration. Seek it out, be compelled. Go tell your story. Just go and make it, no matter the budget. We made BURN for £5,390 and it came out pretty cool. Similarly, I’m not afraid to make films with £150!

If you would like to check Burn out for yourselves then you can catch it the above mentioned festivals or as it hits digital.

If you enjoyed this interview, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Burn: There Is No Need To Panic

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film follows a child, played by Matti Kolirin,  born into an unkind world with themes of national panic and personal tragedy.

I found this to be a surprisingly affecting horror film for a number of reasons, firstly the film does a good job in making us care about the child, their experiences, and how they are growing up, so therefore as things begin to happen you care about the fate of the character. Secondly there is more than enough of our modern times reflected in the film, even though it was made a number of years ago, maybe I am reading into it but I saw a lot of home truths reflective of our current hyper panicked world.

I thought the performances across the board were all strong, I believed the family bond and thought each of the actors played off each other well. I was thoroughly convinced.

My only real criticism of the film would be that there were some pacing issues especially towards the start that really slowed the film down, if it weren’t for them this film could be sweeping full marks

Overall, I related to this film quite a lot and found myself moved by it as well as a little disconcerted.

Pros.

The performances

The ending

The emotion

The relatability

Cons.

Pacing issues  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Circle: Big Tech Is Scary We Get It

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Hermione Granger, because lets face it she can’t play anything else, starts working at a tech company and because it’s a trope of course they are evil.

You might have guess by the summary that I was not impressed by Emma Watson here. Really, of the central trio from the Harry Potter films only Daniel Radcliff has gone on to be a good actor and have an interesting career, Watson just plays variants on her Hermione character: sometimes they even break bad- see her in The Bling Ring. Her character here feels out of place and oddly miscast.

Moreover, Tom Hanks also feels out of place here. Maybe the intent of the film was to surprise us by casting the wrong actors for the parts in an effort to be daring? Hanks fails to deliver any kind of menace, and just feels around for the pay check.

Honestly, this film reads to me like it was written by someone who grew up in a time before the internet was so prevalent and as such both resents how interdependent people are on the internet and tech these days, whilst also thinking their day in the before times was better. The whole threat just feels so cliché and coming from a place of total misunderstanding.

Overall, another stinker for Miss Watson’s post Potter resume

Pros.

I liked Beck’s cameo

It is unintentionally hilarious

Cons.

Emma Watson

Tom Hanks

The premise is cliched

It has pacing issues

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The 355: Men Are Bad And Simon Kinberg Is A Hack

1/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of female spies must come together to get a McGuffin and beat up some men folk.

Until the final ten minutes this film is below average but passably watchable if you have nothing better to do, and then the lecture starts and the film drops down even further. When I say a lecture I am referring to Jessica Chastain’s Mace going on a long ambling  rant to the camera about how men use woman, but how times are changing and how they are going to fight back, a message that feels both overtly hostile to a large portion of the target audience for this film as well as one that feels far too late. However, this isn’t the only questionable thing this film does in regard to gender as it also has all of the villains in the film be men, and those that aren’t get killed off, once again a not so subtle message and one that won’t score this film any points at all.

If all that isn’t enough to make you dislike this film it then also sneaks in a bit of sucking up to the Chinese regime, in order to open in China of course. There is a scene in the film when this all powerful McGuffin needs to be handed over to someone who will keep it safe and out of nefarious hands, so Mace gives it to a Chinese agent…….. Really? Was this some sort of meta joke?…….. Really?

I also think Jessica Chastain is deeply miscast here. Unlike the rest of the ensemble who actually do a good job Chastain sticks out for all the wrong reasons. In many ways her character reads like how America sees itself around the world dominant and in charge, but to everyone else entitled, self-involved and driven more by their own ego than what they should find right and wrong. Chastain’s character was honestly charmless and is probably the thing that sinks this film.

The other minor issues with this film are that it is terribly paced and becomes boring somewhere around the end of act I, furthermore the plot about scary internet hacking devices screams of being written by someone who doesn’t understand the internet or know anything about it.

Overall, this film is trash and you should avoid it at all costs.

Pros.

Cruz, Nyong’o, Kruger

Cons.

Evil men/ forcing its agenda down your throats

Pandering to China

Chastain

The pacing/ fear of the internet   

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Coming Home In The Dark: In Contention For My Worst Film Of The Year

0/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A family is attacked by a duo of deranged men.

What was the need for this film? What did it address that hasn’t already been done so better before? Honestly as I am sat here writing this review after having seen it, I struggle to answer either question. There is nothing wrong with a film being gritty when it is in service of something, but here it seems to be done for nothing more than shock value.

A lot of people don’t like films like Hostel as they feel they are over the top, needless and handled in bad taste, well personally I like the Hostel films well enough but I can see all those complaints being true here of this film. It was deeply unpleasant to watch and even more so to finish, it was so bleak, depressing and needless that honestly I struggled to finish it.

I think the thing that makes everything worse is how incredibly predictable it all is. There truly are no surprises here, you know exactly where this film is going throughout, you don’t want it to go there but rather predictably it does and it is unpleasant for doing so.

Overall, this is one of the hardest films I have ever had to sit through.

Pros.

Really nothing

Cons.

It is bleak and depressing

It feels done in bad taste and for shock value

It is incredibly predictable

It has major pacing issues

It is a chore to watch

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Pusher III: Hosting A Party Is More Stressful Than Running A Drug Empire

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Refn concludes his Pusher trilogy with a day in the life of Milo, played by Zlatko Buric, the drug lord from the first film.

Though I still enjoyed this film I thought it was the most needless of the trilogy and could see why Refn didn’t really want to make sequels, this one felt the most stagnate and time killy. Whilst the other films had an ever increasing sense of tension and claustrophobia this film feels decidedly smaller in scale and in stakes. Though for the most part this leads the film to feel less enthralling it also gives us a more intimate look at this character and their mentality which is nice and leads to a number of good character moments.

I think Buric does a good job here and keeps the film trucking along nicely, of the series characters I feel like he was the only one other than the two already used interesting enough to justify there own film and it was intriguing to see his own little slice of the underworld.

I would say this film struggled with its pace as unlike the others it did have moments that drastically slowed down and in doing so lost your attention.

Overall, a good but not great ending to the trilogy.

Pros.

Buric

The intimacy

A deeper look at Milo’s slice of the underworld

Cons.

Pacing issues

Weaker stakes

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Pusher II: Sometimes One Just Needs To Run Away

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The second film in the Pusher series follows Tonny, played by Mads Mikkelsen, as he gets out of prison and tries to return to his former life of crime.

Mikkelsen is magnificent here as always, as we see his Tonny grow over the course of the film, and feel  the claustrophobic metaphorical walls of Tonny’s life closing in around him trapping him into a cycle of criminality and abuse. Honestly, the final sequence of the film when Tonny finally turns on his gangster father, played by Leif Sylvester, and runs away with his baby is incredibly powerful and a lot of the sequence is incredibly reminiscent of Refn’s later film Drive.

I enjoyed the return to the Danish underworld and thought there was still a lot here to be mined and explored. I liked the juxtaposition of having Tonny not fit into this world at all, though not through a lack of wanting to. Though in many ways the character is morally repugnant Mikkelsen plays him with such a sense of weary charm and desperation that you can’t help but like him. The supporting cast all have moments to shine here, but this is very much Mikkelsen’s film.

Overall, an incredibly strong film.

Pros.

Mikkelsen

The world

The ending

The emotion and the stakes

Cons.

It feels a little rushed at times

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Cherry: Try As He Might Tom Holland Cannot Pull Off Mature Roles

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Tom Holland tries to prove that he is a serious actor and that he can play mature parts as well as Spider-Man, a spoiler for you he can’t.

I feel bad for Holland I really do; he has tried hard to throw off his youthful boyish family appeal, but try as he might he just can’t seem to do it. Despite many saying things to the extent of ‘oh this is going to be an Oscar worthy performance’ or ‘oh you have never seen Holland like this’, it still feels like a student made fan film wherein you have to cast whoever will be in the film for the role even if they don’t fit the part. As Holland really doesn’t fit the part at all.

This film tries to make bold comments about society and life, with Holland’s character going through the army, drug addiction and the criminal underworld. However, it all feels paper thin and like a teen trying to be edgy and dark to show how mature they are, it all feels very try hardy.

Moreover, there is no reason for this film to be on for as long as it is. Honestly this film could be half the time and would probably be better for it, it drags on and on and feels as though it is trying to bait you into turning it off: and you battle with that you really do.

Overall, the Russo’s and Holland should stick to making Marvel films.

Pros.

Holland is really trying and you can feel that sadly it just doesn’t work

Cons.

It is trying way too hard to be edgy

It philosophies are weak

Holland is badly miscast

It has awful pacing issues 

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Encounter: The Strangest Father Son Roadtrip Ever

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Malik Khan, played by Riz Ahmed, a decorated marine must go on a daring rescue mission to save his sons from an otherworldly threat, however as the film progresses the alien threat seems to become more and more farfetched and Malik’s own traumas and fractured mental state start to become the real threat.

I thought this was easily one of the best film’s I have seen in a while. Ahmed was really good and sold both the crazed paranoia as well as the love for his sons really well, you both empathised with his character as well as felt slightly threatened by him. I thought Ahmed balanced both of these sides of his character really well and kept him complexed and nuanced.

The emotion in this film is powerful and resonant. Especially towards the end of the film when Malik starts to realise what he has done it breaks your heart, I would have liked the ending to be a bit more polysemic however, I do think there is some wiggle room for what if Malik was actually right all along.

Overall, a compelling film boosted by a magnificent performance from Riz Ahmed.

Pros.

Ahmed

The emotion

The threat

The twist

Cons.

The ending is a little too clear cut for my taste

They wasted Octavia Spencer  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Zeroes And Ones: What Happens When One Successful Film Goes To Your Head

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Honestly the plot was fairly indecipherable, so I will just say a commentary on covid, the war on terror and the relationship between brothers?

I really enjoyed The King Of New York however everything else that Abel Ferrara has done since has left me cold, this is no exception.

So the big and obvious issue here is after watching it I have no idea what this film is supposed to be about, that is a pretty big red flag. It seems like scenes are just randomly stitched together with a throwaway artsy scene crammed in-between for good measure, all leading to nowhere of course. Trying to follow the narrative of this film will simply leave you with a headache. To me it seems like Ferrara is just trading on the goodwill he has from earlier projects to make films like this which most likely won’t jive with a lot of those watching it.

The best thing about this film is the performance from Ethan Hawke who is really going for it. Hawke plays two brothers; both are quite different so Hawke has to deliver two distinct performances which he does with gusto. Hawke, much like Dafoe in Ferrara’s other recent work is the saving grace.

Overall, this film is a confused mess that clearly thinks of itself as far better than it actually is.

Pros.

Hawke

A few interesting visuals 

Cons.

There is no narrative

It feels pretentious

Pacing issues galore

It is not as insightful as it again thinks it is and is instead dull

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer