Back in 2015 via social media I discovered Tristan Clay and Destinie Orndorff. Two extremely passionate budding horror film-makers who live and breath the genre. Horror is their life and it was this shared heartfelt passion that brought them together. Now they are striving to make careers from this passion, having now also just completed shooting their second feature film Inverted.
“As 18 year olds fresh out of high school, the pressure to make our first feature-length film good and completely solo was overwhelming. But we knew one thing; horror and film is what we love and this is what we want to do for the rest of our lives without a doubt in our minds.”
“We started Deranged Minds Entertainment in 2015 with no connections, no idea how to even go about making a film, and no money. All we had was script ideas and the passion and motivation to bring them to life. Four years later, we have a completed feature on DVD, and across most major streaming platforms, 2 short films, and another feature shooting this summer .”
Their debut feature film “Red Eye” is, considering the very low budget of $10,000 they had to work with, an assured and accomplished debut feature film. The story concerns Gage Barker and the legend of Red Eye he was told of as a child. When he finds out there is some truth behind this legend he gathers a group of friends to hike into the backwoods of Black Creek to help him use this as the basis for his first film project.
From the opening credits, that sets the tone perfectly for what follows, it was abundantly clear Red Eye was going to be a no holds barred throwback to the 1980s slasher films with a grindhouse sensibility. Found footage elements are incorporated into the slasher film tropes and conventions, making Red Eye feel more than just a generic slasher film.
Fans of blood and gore will not be disappointed with the extremely inventive set pieces and some boundary pushing kills. However, there is far more to the film than just blood and gore. Unusually for a slasher film it is far more character driven, with time taken to give some depth to each character that is lacking in many films of the genre. For the most part this is successful, making the characters engaging and so the events that unfold all the more disturbing and shocking.
The film itself opens with a beautiful scene setting aerial shot that leads perfectly into introducing each of the main characters. The cast equip themselves really well. Heather Dorff is superb and one of the standouts. She gave a scene stealing performance in Jessica Cameron’s “Truth or Dare” and does so yet again. Jessica Cameron actually also has a small role. Scott King as Gage Barker and Hayden Wilberger give impressive performances. Writer and producer Destinie Orndorff is convincing in her first lead role in a feature film, particularly in some of the early scenes where she does seem to be bringing elements of her own life experiences to the character. When the action kicks in she shows that she has all the makings of a scream queen. The cast is rounded out by Clayton Abbott as the imposing titular “Red Eye“.
The writing is solid but is slightly lacking in certain aspects and maybe because of this at times some of the acting is a little self conscious. However, the characters and the film are engaging enough because of the emphasis on depth. Writer and director Tristan Clay clearly has an eye for the little details that adds to the overall aesthetic, with one particular scene that uses slow motion being really impressive. The cinematography by Robert W. Fusion combined with the editing by James Colman II, and music by Johnny Suomu give the film a polished yet down and dirty grindhouse feel. The special effects by John Lauterbach are impressive for a film made on such a small budget.
While not a perfect film, “Red Eye” is still a well executed debut feature film. All in all it is far better than many horror films of recent years. A film made with a huge passion for slasher films for fans of slasher films by film-makers who want to bring something different to the genre. For that fact alone it is well worth watching and for those wanting something different and more extreme than mainstream horror films deliver.
I will leave the final words to Tristan Clay and Destnie Orndorff:
“We can never say it enough, but THANK YOU all for all of your support through our journey as independent filmmakers. It means the world to us to have so many people support our dream. We can’t wait to bring you Inverted, plus so much more!”
“Make your dreams a reality, do what makes you happiest no matter what.”
Their short films can be found on YouTube and Vimeo. “Red Eye” can be found on VOD and DVD, here.