Returning to Short of the Week following the release of his festival favourite Zombie short Dawn of the Deaf earlier this year, director Rob Savage turns his hand to the Thriller with his latest film Healey’s House. Winner of the ‘Best UK Short’ award at Raindance 2016 and co-written by fellow short film director Kate Herron, this 17-minute story aims to thwart audience expectations and keep its viewers guessing throughout.
With the original concept for Healey’s House born on a long Boxing Day walk with co-writer Herron, Savage reveals they came up with the image of a “tired, mysterious couple turning up at a run-down gas station” and developed the rest of the story on the back of this initial scene. Building into an enigmatic, intriguing and tense watch Healey’s House initially sets itself up as one-kind of story before developing into something altogether different.
Made in collaboration with the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (who funded the project), Savage and his team auditioned students from the school for roles and then developed their story according to those they cast. With this a somewhat unorthodox approach to screenwriting, the actual shoot for Healey’s House was also a new and challenging experience for the director.
“This was the first short film that I had shot with a proper crew”, Savage reveals. “Having always been a one-man-band beforehand, self-shooting using natural night and no crew except a sound man, the experience was a huge learning curve for me”.
Though Healey’s House doesn’t feel as if it has the same attention-grabbing concept as Dawn of the Deaf, once again there are plenty of signs of the talent possessed by director Savage. From the strong performances he elicits from his cast to the assured production throughout, even if the story this time around isn’t your “thing”, it’s hard to dispute that Savage looks like a filmmaker with a bright future ahead of him.
Now working on developing a couple of feature projects, a full-length version of Dawn of the Deaf and a Monster narrative billed as “a fucked-up Amblin movie”, Savage has also just written and directed his first episode of TV – a horror-drama about a true British haunting that will be broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK around Halloween.