PLASTER ROCK - There was something sinister taking place in the wilderness beyond Plaster Rock — and it has been captured on film
The crew from the movie Plaster Rock prepares for a scene with actress Christine Johnson (on the table) of Moncton. The movie was shot in Riley Brook.
Picture a remote lodge, a desolate forest and sharp implements hidden in the shadows, and the scene is set for blood-curdling terror.
Plaster Rock is the name of a thriller- horror movie shot recently in Riley Brook. It’s based on a tale the film’s director heard when visiting the area.
Jim Lavoie of Fredericton is the publicist for Los Angeles-based Global Universal Pictures Inc. He said the 90-minute feature film was shot over 11 days in December at Tobique Valley Outfitters in Riley Brook.
“The story came from two people who were from Plaster Rock and so that’s why the film was given that name,” Lavoie said. “We also knew that people would have heard of Plaster Rock because of the World Pond Hockey Championships.”
The film’s director, Jackelyn Giroux, is the president of Global Universal Pictures, but maintains a residence in New Brunswick. She does a substantial amount of work in the province, including making three films here in the last 18 months.
Giroux heard the story of a murder that took place in the area in the 1930s and immediately knew what her next film would be about. She said the tale sent chills down her spine and became the inspiration for this modernday thriller.
“It is a fast-paced horror film that takes place in the remote wilderness, where you need more than luck to survive. What starts as a test of athletic prowess becomes a quest for discovery just to stay alive,” Giroux said
“Once again, I rely heavily on a New Brunswick cast and crew to make this film go, and what a spectacular vista we have for principal photography at our isolated set location.”
The isolated location lent itself to the storyline. The characters are in a wilderness cross-country skiing contest that starts from a remote lodge that’s accessible only by boat.
“The only problem is, once left at the lodge by boat, there is no way out and each contestant begins to realize they have more at stake than the cash prize,” Lavoie said.
He said the film has a small ensemble cast with some known talent. One of the lead actors is Peter Loughran from Ontario, who Lavoie said is a master illusionist who has worked with Mindfreak star Criss Angel.
“He’s a very interesting guy and he plays a significant role,” Lavoie said.
Frank Molina — who co-starred with Corey Haim in another of Giroux’s local productions, American Sunset — and Eric Leffler of the same film are also lead actors. Michael Massuci also stars.
New Brunswick actors include Jason Nicholson of Fredericton in his first leading role, Jessica Holt of Fredericton, who starred in the awardwinning short film The Dark Radius, and Christine Johnson of Moncton.
Additional cast members include Lalesha Railsback and Kelsey Ann Wilson of Fredericton.
Tobique Valley Outfitters owner Dave McClure has a small part in the film as the boat captain. Derek Kennedy and Barb Armstrong of Plaster Rock were called in at the last minute to fill a couple of additional roles.
Jesse Anthony is director of photography, and the writers and producers are Giroux and Benoit Martin.
While Lavoie said this is a low-budget venture, the industry is changing to recognize the importance of such productions. Paramount Pictures recently announced it will support 20 “micro-budget” projects in 2010.
Lavoie said the success of movies such as The Blair Witch Project, which was made on a shoestring budget but hit it big at the box office, shows how low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality.
“I think people will be really impressed with the quality of this film,” Lavoie said.
Plaster Rock is in the editing stage, and after that its producers will seek a theatrical distribution deal. The film is scheduled to be released in the spring.
“It is quite possible this could be in theatres across Canada,” he said.
Being part of the movie-making process was a thrill for Plaster Rock residents Armstrong and Kennedy, who were contacted by McClure when a couple of extra actors were needed.
Armstrong said she did theatre before moving to the area, but acting was a new experience for Kennedy.
Although their parts are small, Armstrong said the process was exciting.
“We had a few lines, but nothing complicated,” Armstrong said.
Without giving too much of the story away, Armstrong said she and Kennedy see something horrific at a cabin in the woods and then are interviewed about what they observed.
Mysteriously, the carnage they say they witnessed has disappeared.
“We’re interviewed by Plaster Rock’s local TV station,” Armstrong said with a laugh. “Nobody believes that we saw what we saw.”
Armstrong said the cast and crew of the film were great to work with.
“It was just a really good experience and we can’t wait to see the movie,” she said
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