A team of ex-military mercenaries is hired by a wealthy doctor to rescue her kidnapped child from a supposedly abandoned government facility. Once inside, they discover they’re not alone, and what was meant to be a simple search and rescue quickly turns into a fight for survival.
Christine Caprilozzi caught up with director, Darrin Dickerson, to talk about D4.
Horror News Network: The premise of â€œD4â€ is really interesting and disturbing in its own right. The story revolves around a secret military operation to rescue a prominent billionaireâ€™s son, who has been kidnapped. The disturbing part is that they are performing experiments on epilepsy patients there, which would include the boy. The plot has some depth to it. Can you give us a bit of the inspiration behind the story? How you drew upon your personal experiences as both a writer, and actor?
Darrin Dickerson: My oldest son was diagnosed with epilepsy in the spring of 2007. We had no idea what epilepsy was and the first seizures we witnessed were the most disturbing thing I’d ever seen. The next few months were the most stressful months of my life to date, and aged me considerably. This movie became a creative outlet for me. I wrote the script to vent the stresses and fears we were experiencing. I had been looking to do a feature length film for some time, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that and let it serve as a sort of self-therapy as well. I took our experience with this new fear in our lives and twisted it into a sci-fi/conspiracy theory action film. I used actual dialogue we had with our doctors and neurologist in the script, and everything in the film some way reflects something we experienced, either literally or metaphorically.
Horror News Network: The rescue team runs into a bit more than they expected. Tell us a bit about â€œThe Beastâ€? How does the Beast and his back story relate to the D4 base?
Darrin Dickerson: The Beast came from what we saw when trying to find a proper medication for my son. In the film, they are genetic projects within D4, which is meant to be an Area 51 type of facility. I pulled the characteristics and physical action of the beasts from the transformation I saw in my son while on one of these meds. Some of these medications have horrible side effects, and we witnessed that. The Beast symbolizes Epilepsy. And, the way the Beast affects and tries to destroy the characters in the film is symbolic of how it disrupted our lives. Not knowing what it was, not knowing how to deal with it, being scared and not knowing what to do.
Horror News Network: Tell us a bit about the characters? How do they develop as the situation goes from bad to worse?
Darrin Dickerson: I meant for the special ops team to be a family, a group that stuck together and even though they might not always see eye to eye, they always protected each other. I meant for them to have a no-quit mentality and a perseverance that would see it through, even in the roughest of circumstances. There is no character on the team meant to portray a real life person, each of the characters was developed to hopefully be interesting persons in the story. The team as a collective was meant to represent our family dealing with what was put in their face. The grandfather character comes closest to me personally, as far as being written to exhibit my fears, concerns, guilt and self-imposed stress in the real life circumstance.
Horror News Network: The film isnâ€™t a typical horror/slasher film. Itâ€™s more suspense and survival. What can hardcore horror fans expect on terms of actually being scared? blood and gore?
Darrin Dickerson: I actually didn’t intend it to be a horror film, I always considered it more of a sci-fi action/adventure. But, the horror crowd has latched on to it, and that is a loyal crowd indeed. I receive more support and encouragement at the many horror conventions and horror film festivals we’ve been to than most anywhere else. There is some violence in it, and a little blood and gore, but a lot of it is left up to the imagination. I feel that each individual viewer will fill in the blanks with what is scariest to them, if you just let them. That being said, I intended it to be a film that adults would enjoy, but kids could watch. I’d consider it a PG-13.
Horror News Network: The film, and cast as well, have received high praise. How did the cast and the project come together?
Darrin Dickerson: We’ve won 12 awards to date, including five for Best Feature. And yes, at every festival or convention, comments and questions revolve around the cast, individually and as a collective. I sat down to write the film on the 1st of August 2007 and finished it before the end of the month. Some of the parts were written with actors in mind, friends that had been in my other music video or commercial work. But several of the parts were filled through an open casting call. All of the actors were local to Middle TN with the exception of one from Louisiana. Everybody rallied around the project and we started shooting as soon as possible. We lived together for 18 days in the mountains of East TN and bonded as a family as much as a crew.
Horror News Network: What else do you think people should know about ‘D4’?
Darrin Dickerson: We are self-distributing in North America. This is a daunting task that has monopolized mine and several others time over the past year and a half. We rely on word of mouth and Facebook almost solely to spread the word. The only way we will ever recoup the small budget spent is to sell copies. If you support Independent film, please consider buying one. We need the help. In the event we do recoup and start making a profit of any kind, the plan is to take a percentage normally held by a distribution company and put it towards epilepsy awareness.
Horror News Network: Where can our audience learn more about ‘D4’ and where they can buy a copy?
Darrin Dickerson: We formed our own distribution company, Seven-7-Ten, and you can buy it from us here: www.7-7-10.com. We have a facebook page with photos, trailers, etc. here: www.facebook.com/D4themovie.
Horror News Network: Just because itâ€™s Halloween, whatâ€™s your favorite horror movie / thriller?
Darrin Dickerson: Seven. Favorite movie to date. Followed by The Road.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Darrin. Comment on this interview here.