SUPERNATURAL: A Conversation With Christopher Smith For CONSECRATION Ahead Of Its Premiere At FrightFest Glasgow
Grace, a young eye doctor, is summoned to a remote convent in Scotland after the alleged suicide of her priest brother. Distrusting the Church's account, Grace tries to find out what really happened with the help of Vatican priest Father Romero. As she explores the convent's sepulchral cloisters, and the wild cliffs and windswept beaches nearby, she uncovers not only murder and sacrilege, but a disturbing truth about her own past which brings long-buried trauma to the surface.
Ahead of the European premiere of his psychologically disturbing supernatural thriller, CONSECRATION, at FrightFest Glasgow 2023, director Chris Smith talks about the supernatural side of religion, filming in Scotland, and his encounter with a pregnant sheep.
Another FrightFest, another Chris Smith movie! Our destinies seem intertwined. Why has FrightFest always been a key component to your release strategy?
I feel very fortunate to have been brought into the FrightFest family. I was very lucky that my first film, Creep, was included and then I got very lucky with the dates of release of my subsequent films. Severance was shown the night before the festival started in 2006 and then of course there was the spectacular Premier for Triangle at the Empire Leicester Square. FrightFest has also shown Black Death and Detour. They didn’t bother with Get Santa but that’s their loss. FrightFest is the best audience for any director.
Where did the initial CONSECRATION concept come from?
For a long time I’ve been trying to come up with a movie that was about the supernatural side of religion. If you look at Christianity, so many elements of the story are supernatural - the power of miracles, bringing someone back from the dead and then Jesus reappearing after his crucifixion. This requires belief and it is believed of millions of people and my story is not questioning that. I didn’t want to make a film that from an atheist stand point because to me there are more interesting questions to be asked from the position of a believer. I wanted to look at the miracles and say: “What would happen if somebody was born today that had the power of Christ? What would happen to that person 300 years ago? What would happen to that person in a modern context. What if that new Messiah was a woman? These thoughts were basically the seed of the idea for Jenna’s story.
You co-wrote CONSECRATION with producer Laurie Cook. Who came up with what?
So, I was kicking some ideas around with Jason Newmark who was the producer of Triangle, and Jason said that Laurie, who I’d collaborated with on The Banishing, had a treatment that may tie in nicely with my desire to make a religious film. Laurie had come up with a story of a priest that arrived from Rome to reconsecrate a church where there’s been a murder. I took that basic idea, which I really loved, and just wrote the first draft of the story we have here. Laurie then came in after that first draft was done and he wrote a draft over the top of it and then we just went back and forth with it till it was finished.
CONSECRATION is showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Sat 11 March, 3.45pm, as part of FrightFest Glasgow 2023. Chris will be attending.