I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Features Editor
In movies, it’s common to hear the words, “we need to do something,” when characters are backed into dangerous corners. Try imagining a situation where a family packs themselves into a bathroom during a severe storm. Instead of just the expected roaring winds and pounding rainfall, hell sounds like it literally came out to play.
The air crackles with mysterious terror, a fallen tree blocks the only door to freedom, and the darkness within the family clouds over their mental spaces. Is it the most violent storm of all time? Is the all-too-familiar feeling of being boxed-in driving them insane? Or is something more supernatural going on? Regardless of what’s real, this is a nightmare scenario that should stay within the confines of cinema.
Directed by Sean King O’Grady (2016’s Land Grab) and based on a novella by Mark Booth III (who also handled the adaptation), We Need to Do Something is a chiller without much filler. It’s a stripped-down horror film that blurs the lines of reality and fantasy. It’s Lovecraftian, Kubrickian, and Wes Craven-y, with a sprinkle of The Craft and Ginger Snaps. The terror it explores reflects the COVID era, but it also has all the genre accouterment to make you sweat twice as much.
This is especially true in one scene. Without serving up the details, it involves only sound and the central family’s reactions. The family – portrayed by Vinessa Shaw (Hocus Pocus), Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills), Sierra McCormick (The Vast of Night), and John James Cronin (NOS4A2) – think they’re enjoying a moment of relief, only to learn it’s going to bite them right on the hand.
Fresh Fiction spoke with Mr. O’Grady about that very scene (in a non-spoiler fashion), the balance of ambiguity, and how this interactive experience will expand your mind (and nightmares).
Enjoy the conversation below, and catch the IFC Midnight release in theaters (Dallas: Texas Theatre) and on video-on-demand this weekend!