Indie Watch: An Interview With Ouija Director Darren Lynch


Fledgling UK director Darren Lynch has emerged from a long shoot deep in the Derby woodland area hoping his low budget supernatural shocker Ouija will join the crowd of rags-to-riches indie hits that have produced genre giants like Sam Raimi and Tobe Hooper – a dream shared by millions upon millons of cinema fans.

In Ouija, nine friends set off for a weekend for some uninterrupted booze fuelled shenanigans, unaware that one of them has decided to pack a ouija board to spice things up a bit.  They open up a portal that unleashes all manner of hellish beasties with a taste for teen flesh.

This could be the start of a damn fine low-budget spook show, if you ask me, despite the plot crunch bringing more than welcome memories of undead gems like The Evil Dead to mind, however, Lynch is keen to point out this won’t be another undead gore party.

Shock Till You Drop had the chance to chat with the 25-year-old director as he discusses the production, his hopes for his future career and advice for first-time directors out there.

What were your influences for the screenplay? 

Darren Lynch:  Well, my main influences before I came into the acting business were Stephen King and Wes Craven as I’ve always been a fan of the horror genre. Most recently, were directors I have worked with such as Reg Traviss and the very  talented Sam Mendes [editor’s note: Lynch was an extra in the 007 film Skyfall]. Even actors have gone to produce, direct and write their own script I love horror so why not have a go?

How easy was it getting the funding? Did you get anything near what you aimed for? 

Lynch:  I started with a low budget anyway so I left it at that and went out to make Ouija with no budget.  The money I used was out my own pocket.  Maybe I could of waited and strived for a bigger budget but deep down I wanted to test myself.  I wanted a task to prove I can make a film successful without a budget, and hey, it worked. Now I know it can be done, then in the future when I do work on a large budget it will be a piece of cake.

Could you describe Ouija for the horror audience?

Lynch:  Ouija is about nine friends who plan to camp out deep in the woods overnight.  Nine typical teenagers looking to party, take drugs and drink heavily. One of them has other ideas sparking up scary stories – getting the group to play along.  Out comes the Ouija board, [and] not knowing the dangers they summon a series of demons from the board who stalk the camp. Then, unknowingly, they are slaughtered one by one.

Did production go smoothly?  More importantly, did you enjoy production? 

Lynch:  We had a few minor setbacks with production.  We had problems with weather and couldn’t film when it rained. We had a generator issue and had problems with the lights forcing us to go over our schedule.  These things happen, and you have to expect that in this industry the best thing to do is not panic and just keep going.  It paid off because we got there in the end. It was an enjoyable experience for all of us, we had a great laugh and I met some really amazing people and look forward to working with them in the future.

Why choose horror as your directorial debut? 

Lynch:  I had a few people say its sounds like a very “undead” type of film, i wouldn’t go with undead but more like Blair Witch and Long Time Dead.  The excitement is there and there’s more to it than flesh-eating zombies.  It’s more about the mystery, leaving you guessing with, of course, a twist.  And there’s a story to build on. The horror fans will enjoy this one.

Are there independent horror films out there that have impressed you recently? 

Lynch:  I love horror films, defiantly my favorite genre and I find in horror there’s more excitement.  And yeah, it’s a lot of make believe, but I have a great imagination as you will see in Ouija.

Any advice for budding first time filmmakers out there trying to get a production off of the ground? 

Lynch:  The two that stand out for me is The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, [both are] very cleverly done and just shows you don’t have to have a massive budget to make your film a success.  Fingers crossed Ouija goes down the same path.

What would be the ideal next step for you? More horror? 

Lynch:  Yes, don’t give up. You will get problems in production, problems on set, keep going, don’t stop and I promise you it will be worth it in the end. Hard work pays off.  My next step is an action film which is already in development, so look out for that one coming sometime this year.

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