Girl meets boy. Boy goes missing and then girl finds herself trapped in a house with a masked murderer. Karthik Shamalan’s slasher flick The Farm is not for the faint-hearted.
The 31-year-old director said his story featuring a deaf-mute girl who has to fight for survival against a psychopath dressed as a werewolf was inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood.
“In the fairy tale, the little girl can’t see pass the hungry wolf pretending to be her grandmother. I see that happening in the real world. Some women are easily fooled by men because they judge a person based on appearance.
“If a man dresses well, then he must be good person when he could actually be someone with bad intentions,” he said during an interview in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Karthik is critical of men who treat women badly: “In my movie, I don’t even want to consider a man like that to be a person. He’s basically an animal.”
Actress Jaya Ganason plays Suchita, the heroine of the film. The Farm also stars Mohanaraj and Mahesan Poobalan.
The film features an intense cat-and-mouse game between Suchita and her captor. The only way for her to escape is to figure out the right exit in a dizzying maze with 36 doors.
Karthik and his team built the set at his own backyard in Taiping, Perak.
“It was challenging as some of us could easily get lost in the maze. We had to remember which door we came from. So we try to give each door its own set of lighting to help us figure out our path,” he said.
Karthik is all about keeping the audience at the edge of their seats. He didn’t want to shoot the chase sequence from a high angle.
“The audience have to follow both Suchita and the wolf closely to see what happens. I also didn’t allow anyone outside from the production team to visit the set. Nobody is also allowed to photograph the actor playing the wolf because I want it to be a secret,” he said.
The film was shot over a period of 40 days with a production cost of RM390,000. Karthik said the long shooting period was because he had to wait for his actor to go through a physical transformation.
“The actor playing the werewolf has a flashback scene where he appeared to be thinner. Then, he has to put on weight. He gained 27kg. When he was ready, we resumed the shoot.”
He admitted that the shooting process was also difficult for Jaya. The actress cut her hair short for the role and spent at least 10 hours a day covered in fake blood.
“We didn’t shoot our scenes in chronological order. So Jaya has to be in different moods throughout the shoot. One day she’s happy because her character is in love. Then, she has to face the wolf. She also has to watch different people die in front of her,” he explained.
Karthik also made sure that Jaya and the actor playing the wolf did not interact with each other on set. Oh, and he had his own way of getting Jaya to be really terrified of the big bad wolf.
“She doesn’t know if the wolf is going to be in the next room when she opens the door, just like her character in the movie.”
The Farm is showing at selected cinemas nationwide.