According to horror lore, vampires hate sunlight and werewolves can't stand silver. But birds were the bane of existence for one local horror-film director.
Salt Lake filmmaker Brett Hull and his crew shot the vampire psychological thriller "She Lives By Night" in the evenings and early mornings - to accommodate his cast's work schedules and partially by necessity (it is a horror film, after all). Hull actually planned some shoots to run through the mornings but had some problems with neighboring avians."We had to stop filming (at 5 a.m.), because that's when the birds started chirping," he said. "They were so loud, you could even hear them indoors. When you have a suspense movie that's supposed to take place in the dead of night, birds singing away in the background can really kill the mood."
"She Lives By Night" is in some ways a homage to Hitchcock - in particular, the 1958 psychological thriller "Vertigo." It follows Roger (John Woodhouse), a cynical 20-something who accidentally mows down a beautiful pedestrian while taking a late-night drive.
Taking the young amnesiac, Angela (Lilliana Cabal), back to his home, Roger tries to help her regain her memory and begins to fall in love with her. What he doesn't know is that Angela - who's actually a vampire - has already regained her memory and has started putting the chomp on some of his friends.
"This film explores the difficulty of sharing your personality, your core identity, with another person," scriptwriter James Stewart explained. "This is relevant for anyone in a relationship, since no matter how honest we are, there's usually something we conceal."
- IN TERMS OF violent and sexual content, "She Lives By Night" is a model of restraint, especially when compared to other recent films in the horror genre - including "Nightfall," another locally made vampire film. (The film is not rated, but would probably receive a PG or PG-13 rating for violence and some profanity.)
However, Woodhouse, the film's lead, is too restrained and verges on being wooden. Cabal, a former Utahn who has since moved to Los Angeles, fares better and is more lively, though she lacks some of the magnetism needed to completely pull off the role.
And the thriller could use some editing as well, since the first half is actually too slowly paced to sustain the tension.
But "She Lives By Night" does feature some interesting ideas and some tense moments and makes the most of some obvious Salt Lake locations, including the Tower Theatre, the Dead Goat Saloon and Red Butte Gardens.
"She Lives by Night" has its world premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 22, as part of the Tower of Terror Horror Film Festival. The film will run through Sunday at the Tower Theatre, 876 E. 900 South. Call 1-801-297-4040 for showtimes.