Rob Gordon (Writer/Director/Producer) Will Hurst (Lead Actor/Producer)
Rob Gordon and Will Hurst are two best friends that have been making movies and short films ever since Will convinced Rob to move out to LA ten years ago. Will knew from an early age that he wanted to be an actor (John Wayne was his childhood hero), but Rob found out very quickly in Hollywood that behind the camera was where he belonged. Their first film Siblings was a romantic comedy that sold to Hungary. Yes, only Hungary. Since then they’ve made an award-winning “grind-house” short, Ugly, Strong, and Dignified, a viral zombie video, Charlie Bit My Finger Off, and have optioned scripts around Hollywood. Not having much luck with the studio system, Rob and Trey decided to self-finance and produce I Know You’re in There, their second feature.
What Is the synopsis of the film?
When his estranged mother kills herself, Tom Redding is given the shocking news that he has a sister he never knew. Her name is Chloe, and she doesn’t move or talk. Afflicted with catatonic schizophrenia, Chloe is confined to a wheelchair—seemingly unaffected by the outside world. Fascinated by her illness, Tom takes Chloe to their mother’s isolated home to film a documentary about her rare condition, but when he gets there, Tom experiences supernatural disturbances and begins to suspect Chloe might be faking the whole thing. His paranoid obsession evolves into total madness, and the question becomes: who is really crazy, Chloe or Tom himself?
How did you come up with the concept?
We knew we wanted to make a horror movie, but we also knew we didn’t have much money. So right off the bat it was apparent the cast had to be small and most of the shooting had to take place at one location. Those were the two biggest constraints. We really just worked backward from there. Nothing was off-limits as long as it stuck to those conditions. I think at one point we were just yelling out taglines like Trapped on a farm! or Alien dopple-ganger terrorizes human! Stuff like that. And then I think I said, “What about a girl that doesn’t move or talk?” To which Will responded, “You mean an evil girl that doesn’t move or talk?” Creepy girls have always scared the sh*t out of us ever since The Ring, so we went with it.
How long did it take to film?
We shot on location at a house near Mt. Shasta for three weeks, but Will and I drove up there a week early to prep the house and build props and what not. We also wrapped the location out ourselves, which took three solid days of packing gear and cleaning. That was pretty rough, but we did do some fishing as well. We also ate a rabbit we accidentally hit with our car during that period, but that’s another story… We also did some pick up days in LA. One of those days, because of permits and location costs in LA, ended up costing more than the entire time up in northern California. Up there we were literally shooting in the middle of the road—like the camera and DP were standing there in the middle of the road when a cop drove by and casually waved at us. There’s something to be said for making movies outside of LA.
How did you decide on the location?
Finding the location was a nightmare. We were searching all over. At one point I was looking at a Pennsylvania farm foreclosure website. We couldn’t find anything. Our biggest problem was the house had to be big enough not just for shooting purposes, but since we couldn’t afford to put up the cast or crew in hotels, there had to be enough places for everyone to sleep. After looking for about a month, I stumbled on a Craigslist ad for a spiritual retreat in the Vacation Rentals section. It was seventeen acres, totally isolated, and had a giant limestone outcropping in the middle of it. The place was made for horror movies. The owner was really nice and even photo-doubled as the late mother. It turned out to be a godsend, except for the DP’s room. We found out the hard way (technically HE found out the hard way) that his room was infested with thousands of bed bugs. True story.
What was the highlight of making the film?
Living out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of really cool people for a month was definitely the highlight. It was a ton of work, but there was also fun stuff like staying up late and shooting mock commercials for Hamm’s Beer. No joke, the Walmart we were buying food at raised the price of Hamm’s Beer because we were buying so many cases.
What was the most difficult moment of shooting the film?
Probably carrying all of the rental gear up our apartment’s stairs when we arrived back from Mt. Shasta and then back down the next morning. We were exhausted from a month of shooting and it was in the middle of a heatwave. My car had been stolen from our apartment’s parking garage, so we couldn’t risk leaving anything in the cars. My car was stolen a second time shortly after.
Any specific movies or stories that influenced the script?
I think when you watch the movie it’s pretty clear we paid homage to The Shining. That’s my personal favorite horror film. It’s also an example of a horror film that doesn’t rely on special effects, which we couldn’t afford. I also think the twist in our movie is very comparable to Psycho. That wasn’t really intentional. It sort of just played out that way, and it’s something I’m really proud of. I think any viewer that’s invested in the movie will have a pretty big WTF moment when they get to the scene I’m speaking of.
What makes this film stand out among others?
The film is a throwback to older horror movies that didn’t rely on jump scares. It’s really well acted, too. I’m not just saying that because Will is looking over my shoulder as I type this. Also, the film score. Once again we lucked out on Craigslist and found Chris Hayman. He’s a super-talented young guy, and he scored the entire film in two weeks. Not because we rushed him either. He just really connected to the film. When he brought us in to listen it for the first time, we were absolutely blown away. It’s rare in film-making, especially low-budget film-making, for something to just be perfect from the get go.
Looking back, is there anything you would change about the film:
For sure. There’s some story elements that require the suspension of belief that probably could have been written better had there been a little more time, but when we finally found that perfect location after striking out so many times, we just had to go shoot. One positive though was we ended up doing a lot of improvising, and that produced some amazing stuff—like the scene where Tom (Will) is in Chloe’s wheelchair recording himself on the Go-Pro. There may have been some Hamm’s Beer involved in the filming of that scene…
Any other horror projects currently in the works?
Not currently. We have to make our money back before we go making any more films. So please, everyone reading, rent the movie!
We really like this site. Definitely the coolest questions we’ve had the opportunity to answer.