BWW Interview: Matthew Merritt of CRACKS, premiering November 2 at the Camelot

BWW Interview: Matthew Merritt of CRACKS, premiering November 2 at the Camelot

An unstable psychiatrist whose only sanctuary is indoors, finds herself trapped betweens the walls and her mind.

CRACKS is a new horror film starring, written, directed, and produced by many faces familiar to upstate SC theatregoers.

The film's red carpet premiere will be held on 7:30 pm, November 2, 2018 at the Camelot Cinemas in Greenville, SC.

We asked actor Matthew Merritt - who won a Best Supporting Actor award for his turn as George in Mill Town Players' Of Mice and Men - to tell us a little about the film.

First, please tell us a little about the movie - general idea of the plot, key cast and creative team.

CRACKS is a psychological horror film co-written, produced, and directed by Dean Ferreira and Silas James Rowland of Third Mind Films and Green Glass Captures, respectively. The plot centers around Sabrina (Lauren Paige Wilson), a psychiatrist who has recently begun to suffer from an agoraphobia-type illness, which leads her to abandon her city-based practice, and relocate to rural SC in hopes of healing and eventually continuing to receive patients from the safety of home. Unfortunately,
the remote setting does not prove to be the haven she had hoped for, as her condition quickly worsens, and she begins to find herself, in the words of the creators, "Trapped between the walls and her mind," and the house begins to take on a consciousness of its own. Or does it?

The film co-stars several well-established and recognized Upstate SC actors, including Chris Cashon, Donna Whitmore-Sexton, John Sexton, and Myles Moore, as well as Merritt Vann, Jonathan Beford, Brian Duckson, David Owens, and USC Hall-Of-Famer and former NFL star Jamon Meredith.

How did you become involved?

I've known Dean [Ferreira] for several years, and had the opportunity to work with him on 2017's Mister Academy, also produced by Third Mind Films, which is where I met Silas Rowland, who was director of photography for the film. We established a strong working-relationship in a very short time, and after wrapping Mister Academy, they informed me of their intention to fully partner for their next project, and asked if I would be interested in having a role written specifically for me to play, which was
unexpected and quite flattering. I said, "Yes, please," and the rest is history.

What is your role?BWW Interview: Matthew Merritt of CRACKS, premiering November 2 at the Camelot

I portray James Jones, who serves as the main "Villain" in the story. The character has been deliberately shrouded in mystique so as not to reveal too much too soon, so I'll basically leave it at that. I will say that my concept and inspiration for building the character was directly influenced by the Depression-era, Deep-South, fire-and-brimstone-type country preachers and Freddy Krueger (Nightmare On Elm Street). He's a bit of a nasty cat, with a twisted humor, and I think audiences will enjoy hating him.

What were some highlights of the filming process for you?

I've worked as an actor here in SC, as well as Florida and New York, for the better part of twenty years, and that time and experience have helped me to develop certain standards and expectations for any work or project that I involve myself with. Primarily among these is the desire for everything I'm attached to to feel entirely and unquestionably PROFESSIONAL. Working on CRACKS was satisfying on every level, in that sense. From the Creators (Dean and Silas), to the lead crew and production assistants, to every last member of the cast, including non-speaking extras, the film was conceived and executed at a professional level. I know that, above all else, that will be obvious and apparent to anyone who views the final product. On a more specifically personal level, I was allowed a great deal of freedom with my character, and I felt like my choices and suggestions were always heard and respected, and everything was up for discussion if needs-be. For an actor, especially in film, that's extremely gratifying, and greatly helps to ease the tension that long, often tedious days on-set can inevitably generate.

Have you seen the final product and, if so, what did you think?

I have not! It's often the case with filmwork that the actors aren't able to actually see the work until it's premiered, especially in a film with an abundance of special visual effects that can only be achieved in post-production, which CRACKS certainly does. I was able to view playback of certain takes and scenes, but personally, I prefer to only do that when I feel like knowing what the shot actually is will help me make proper choices therein. I've seen the same trailer(s) as everyone else, and am very
encouraged and excited to enjoy, and be surprised by, the first screening alongside audience members who know even less than myself.

What do you think this film means to the upstate film community?

As I mentioned before, the professional quality of CRACKS is readily apparent and unquestionable. There are quite a few amateur and independent filmmakers working and creating not only in the Upstate, but throughout SC, who have been producing quality Independent Films for several years, and yet the industry in general seems to continue to fly under-the-radar, and goes largely unnoticed (or simply unacknowledged) by the rest of the Arts communities and local media. I honestly believe that this, CRACKS, is the film with every element in place to potentially, and finally, break that pattern, and not only place the local film industry firmly in the public eye here in our own region, but nationally as well. I believe it's truly that good. Our region is already a popular shooting locale for Major Studio films from The Patriot and Forrest Gump, to Leatherheads (shot in our own Greenville and Greer Downtowns) and
the most recent installment of John Carpenter's Halloween franchise, and I think it's high time we get the message out that while we welcome "outsiders" to come and share our numerous resources, we are quite capable of turning out equally high-quality product on our own, and people deserve to know that. It's a source of pride for our entire region, and particularly rewarding to know that The Upstate will play a
major role in leading the charge, so to speak.

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From This Author Neil Shurley

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