Ben Wheatley on his COVID-19 horror film: “It’s terrifying”

"The thing about COVID is that it destroys everything"

Ben Wheatley has opened up about his COVID-19 horror film.

The Rebecca filmmaker told NME about more details concerning his project, which he shot in 15 days in August.

Detailing his “really gritty, grungy, different thing,” following the Netflix remake of Daphne Du Maurier’s classic gothic novel, Wheatley said of the upcoming film: “It’s still under wraps, but it’s terrifying… The actual production of it was something else.

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“There were about 30 crew and we all ended up in this hotel. We had to rent the entire building out and no one went home. We just did it.”

He went on to describe the film as a “post-COVID” movie. “The thing about COVID, to talk about it in a particularly trivial way, is that it destroys everything. It’s the thing that cinema has been warning us about for years – and subsequently makes a lot of those zombie apocalypse or global panic films quite unpalatable now.

“You can’t pretend it never happened, so this new film is within the context of COVID, but it’s not about it. It’s not like, ‘*cough cough* oh my god!’ – or ‘I’ve been trapped in the house for weeks!’ It’s not one of those films. We’ve all lived that, we don’t want it.”

Speculating on when audiences might be able to see the film, after cinemas around the world were forced to shut their doors during the pandemic, Wheatley remained confident.

“If you look at the numbers before COVID, cinema audiences had never been bigger,” he began. “Streaming audiences were also massive. So that says people like watching movies in the cinema, and they also like watching them at home.

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“People have had films offered to them in all different ways and they still choose to go to the cinema. Why would they change that behaviour? There’s a lot of talk about cinemas closing down but I think it will be fine. In the end, audiences will return, unless they’re terrified by COVID forever.”

He added: “Look at what happened after the Spanish Flu. Cinemas were closed for two years and then they opened again because people wanted to go and see stuff.”

Rebecca is streaming on Netflix now.

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