Daily Horror Film Fest: What They Say

Welcome to the DoT Daily Horror Film Fest! Throughout the month, I’ll be featuring new horror every weekday. Sometimes that will be indie films, sometimes it’ll be big-name stuff, shorts, or even TV shows. Scary, funny, schlocky, quiet, eerie – something for the well-rounded horror fan. Plus interviews with filmmakers and a chance to support projects still in the works. Today’s feature is What They Say from writer/star Heather Dorff and director Justin R. Romine.

Filmmaker and actor Jessica Cameron, who is Dorff’s partner on the Web series Scream Queen Stream, first tipped me off to What They Say. The film was part of her introduction to Dorff, whom she met when they were both on set working on a different film. Cameron was impressed with Dorff’s crowd-funded short, and they became fast friends. “I was blown away,” says Cameron. “It was so good. I loved the fact that she took the initiative to fund a film for herself to get her acting ability shown, and respected her that she was able to do it in such a professional manner. It is everything that a short should be, in my humble opinion.”

I asked Dorff a few questions about the film to set up the scene. The short can be purchased through Dorff’s Web site.

What inspired you to write the short? Was there an event in your personal life, or an overall social theme you wanted to communicate?

What They Say’s script was actually adapted from a short story I wrote many years before. What inspired me to write the short story was definitely the feeling of being ostracized as a teen for being different. I had gone through a lot as a child, experiencing the death of a parent very young. It forced me to grow up too fast and see the world, life, in a very different light than most. This understanding of the world, of how short and precious life is, caused me to simply not care or buy into social cliques and the petty high school drama that is so common among teens, eventually causing me to be a bit of an outcast and loner. I wanted to convey how different types of bullying and shaming young people can be insidious to their health over time with sometimes dire consequences.

To set the scene, what is happening in the preview clip? What should people know about what the central character is doing there?

I can better tell you what is not happening: this film is not simply about a traditional ‘cutter’ although I know in the clip it definitely seems that way. There are a lot of themes happening in this film and the character is definitely on a dark journey that leads her to cutting but very likely not for the reasons you’d stereotype or expect.

What are you working on next?

I recently completed my scenes on three feature horror/thriller films: An Ending, Solitary Confinement , and Red Eye with another lead role in a horror feature, set to be directed by Jessica Cameron, currently planned to start filming before the close of 2016. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for updates!

Living Room Scene:

Official Trailer:

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