âThe Free Fall,â a horror thriller and first solo film by Whitefish native Adam Stilwell, will begin hitting theaters in January and a trailer is available now online.
In a statement to entertainment news site Collider, Stillwell called the film a “deep dive into the brutal confusion of a manipulative relationship” and “a gruesome look at the obsession and gas lighting that can own when we are at our worst of our worst “.
âIt’s definitely a genre horror film. He does not fire any punches. It’s fine over there, âStilwell told The Beacon in a telephone interview from his Los Angeles-area residence. He added that “it’s not just a slasher movie with blood and guts.”
âThere’s a lot more below the surface that could be interesting, and you could have a conversation about the movie, rather than just a roller coaster ride, which I hope will be as well. It’s kind of a psychological headache of a movie.
The basic premise of the film is that it follows a woman after a suicide attempt as she continues to deal with an abusive and manipulative husband.
âThe Free Fallâ stars Andrea Londo, who has appeared on television shows before, including Netflix’s âNarcosâ and the FX show âSnowfallâ. Opposite Londo is Shawn Ashmore, who played Iceman in the X-Men movies of the early 2000s. American and Australian actress Jane Badler, best known for her role in the NBC sci-fi miniseries of The Years 1980 “V” and its sequel “V: The Final Battle”.
âIt’s a big stepping stone,â Stilwell said of what the film represents during his roughly 15-year career in film. “It was just a huge learning experience.”
Producer David Blair, like Stilwell, also has ties to Whitefish, and he’s not the only person involved in the film who has a local connection. In addition to Blair, who lives in Whitefish, there’s also Nathaniel Peterson. Peterson is from Whitefish and is a longtime friend of Stilwell and Blair. He has an acting role in “The Free Fall” and is also one of the producers. The three worked on other projects, including the 2016 film “The Triangle,” which was filmed north of Billings and involved a casting with several Whitefish actors.
âWe’ve always been there,â Stilwell said of his work with Peterson and Blair. “It’s just pretty cool that this one pierces a bit.”
The script had been in place for almost a decade. Blair, who works as a screenwriter, said he had undergone major work which was completed around 2013. Ultimately the funding was there to make the film a reality.
The script was originally written by Kent Harper as a television pilot, according to Stilwell. Blair worked with Stilwell and Peterson in a feature film script, which was reworked again by Stilwell prior to production.
âIt took so long, but once the train left the station it was leaving,â Blair said.
Filming in Los Angeles ended in 2019 after about a month, and post-production work was one to two weeks left when concerns about the pandemic in the United States began to escalate rapidly. in March 2020 and work on the film was on hold for weeks. Work was underway to fine-tune the sound and one of the lead actors, Sean Ashmore, needed to record additional dialogue.
âI can’t complain because I have friends who were a week away from finishing a movie and had to shut down. So you’re really fucked up, âStilwell said.
The film has been on the festival circuit lately, most recently at Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia. Stilwell said planning is underway, but he is hopeful the film will screen somewhere in Flathead Valley when it releases on January 14.
According to Blair, the film will have a limited release, which could expand depending on how well the film is received from audiences. The film will also eventually be available for streaming.
âOn the surface it looks like a husband lighting the gas,â Blair said. âAt the end of the movie, it’s something completely different that I think audiences won’t see coming, and that’s what’s exciting about it.â
Blair said the film is reminiscent of horror films from decades past like âRosemary’s Babyâ and âThe Shiningâ.
âI think people who like a psychological thriller that’s going to stay with you and scare you when you’re lying in your bed at night trying to think of other thingsâ¦ I think this movie is going to come back to your brain. . “