“Damien Power does with camping what Spielberg did with the ocean!”
Writer and Director Damien Power takes us on a journey as we witness a couple’s romantic camping trip becoming a desperate fight for survival in his newest raw film Killing Ground. Damien Power does in excellent job of taking the familiar tropes camping and the forest to an efficient execution and a climax that will make your head spin. This is a thriller that you will not want to miss. I had the privilege of speaking with Damien on Killing Ground, and I absolutely cannot wait for his future projects.
A couple’s romantic camping trip becomes a desperate fight for survival in this ultra-raw, unhinged kill ride. In need of a break from the pressures of their lives in the city, Sam (Harriet Dyer) and Ian (Ian Meadows) head to a remote beach for a weekend getaway. When they come across an abandoned campsite, with no trace of its occupants, they’re concerned. When they discover a lone, traumatized child nearby, they’re scared. And when they encounter two local weirdos, they’re in for a hell of a bad time. Unfolding in an innovative, time-scrambling structure, Killing Ground delivers both nerve-shredding suspense and gut-punching realism.
Killing Ground Releases Today In Cinemas and VOD
Interview With Writer & Director Damien Power
Damien Power: Hey, Ryan.
Ryan T. Cusick: Hey, how are you doing?
DP: Good, how are you?
RTC: Good, just trying to stay cool! I had heard it took ten or eleven years for you to write this film, is that accurate?
DP: Yeah, so they very start of the idea to me actually stepping out onto the set, on location, was eleven years. Obviously, I wasn’t working on it full time; I was working different nine to five jobs outside of the film industry while writing, developing, trying to get this project out. So it was about five years from the point where we felt the script was ready and we began thinking about financing for other things to happen, so yeah, it has been a long journey.
RTC: What was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea?
DP: The original idea was an image of an orange tent that just came into my head. I started thinking about where are the campers? What happened to them? And that started the antagonist. Then somebody finds the tents and suggests the protagonist. I made the kind of film that I like to watch, violent thrillers. We have all seen films where people go into the woods, and nothing happens. So I was trying to bring something new to the table. A sense of realism, I wanted it to be as realistic as possible in the treatment of the story but also in the choices that the characters make. When I was writing it I thought, what would I do in that situation? And that was the question that I wanted audiences to come away with.
RTC: I think that you did definitely achieve that. I was thinking the same. What would I do? What would I do with my wife if we were together? If I had my kid with me, what would I do? That alone brought the realism and just terrified me.
DP: Yeah, those are the same fears that I had too, my kids, and would I be able to protect my family if we were threatened.
RTC: How was the cast? Did you have to give a lot of direction? I mean this got deep at one point.
DP: I feel that I was blessed with a really good cast who came in prepared and they knew what they were doing, and they were 110% committed to their role. Obviously, there are moments that are tough and not necessarily what the actors are going through but for technical reasons. You might have a complicated camera move, or practical effects that are difficult and everyone is outside. There is a level of physical reality, and sometimes a physical discomfort that you just need to push through it. On the set, I tried to create a safe place so they could do the best work possible.
RTC: They did. It was very believable. Anytime someone had died, it hurt. I felt it, and I think moviegoers are going to as well.
DP: Yeah, I think so too.
RTC: How is it shooting in Australia?
DP: Australia is a great place to shoot. In terms and finding an actual location we shot in a southern suburb on the Georges River, and it was a great location. The only downside to the location on the other side of the river was the army base, and they were actually conducting live fire exercises while we were shooting. They would be shooting with tanks, helicopters, and machine guns. I owe a lot to my sound recorders, big time!
DP: Oh, wow! I bet that was nerve wracking for sure [Laughs]
RTC: What is next for you? Are you going to work on more thriller horror films?
DP: I have always been writing and developing other materials. So, yeah I have a couple of projects going. I did a short film called Peekaboo. The film did very well on the festival circuit and showed that I could direct suspense and action. The film is a story about a woman that loses her kid in a public park and believes that her child has been abducted and believes that her kid has been abducted. I am working on a feature adaptation of that; it is an abduction thriller. You know, I got a couple of projects sort of in the horror thriller genre.
RTC: Was this your first feature or did you do something else before this film?
DP: No, it was my first feature.
RTC: Wow, first impressions are everything what a great film. Are you planning on having a Blu-ray at some point?
DP: I think there will be one; I am not sure when that will happen.
RTC: Well, thank you so much for speaking with me.
DP: My pleasure, thank you very much. Glad you enjoyed the film.
-About The Author-
Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for ihorror.com and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and has aspirations to write a novel. Ryan can be followed on Twitter @Nytmare112