That’s a Wrap is an upcoming horror comedy movie that combines the style of a Giallo with the meta whodunit of Scream. The plot concerns the cast of a slasher movie, also titled That’s a Wrap, celebrating at a wrap party when they are slowly picked off one at a time by someone dressed as the villain of the movie they just made. Director Marcel Walz spoke with MovieWeb about the film.
The Independent Horror of Neon Noir
That’s a Wrap is undoubtedly an independent film. However, fitting with its self-referential meta framework, it also comments upon indie cinema, but in a loving way. “I mean, we do not make fun of [the indie film world], but we do explain the wider audience of the mainstream people, what it means to work in the indie world and also these horror movies.” He continued:
We make fun of it, but not really. We just want to explain how ardent the support can be working there, but with a smile to it, you know? Because there is always a lot of drama behind the cameras.
That type of drama is the kind of thing that Neon Noir, the production company behind That’s a Wrap, wanted to stay away from. The company was founded by Walz, alongside actor Sarah French and Joe Knetter, the latter of whom co-wrote the script for That’s a Wrap with Robert L. Lucas. In fact, That’s a Wrap is Neon Noir’s first movie.
One of the films that Walz, Knetter, and French previously made together was Blind. It’s also a slasher movie, but provides an interesting contrast with That’s a Wrap. Blind is much more serious as a slow burn character study, while That’s a Wrap is much more comedic, though not without moments of seriousness, and with a quicker pace. However, another thing that they both share is a strong visual flair, courtesy of Walz. He’s a director who likes using color. Besides that, music is also something that’s really important to him.
“I wanted discoballs, blues, reds, and greens […] I think what is really important is that Joe is a screenwriter, he’s really big on characters and story, and I am more of a visual director, it’s a good combination. You know, I think that’s the best part of the both of us.”
Finding the right actors to portray the characters in the movie wasn’t difficult; they already had actors in mind for some of the roles. For instance, the role of Lily was written for Monique T. Parent. They knew they wanted French and Gigi Gustin to be in the movie. The other roles were cast with the people who felt right for them. And if you’re a horror movie fan, you might recognize a few of the other actors in the movie, such as Cerina Vincent of Cabin Fever fame.
Or Tom Savini, who makes a brief cameo at the very beginning of the movie. He was a friend of Knetter and French, along with being a fan of Blind. Despite originally becoming famous for his special effects work, Walz said they didn’t annoy him with questions about doing their violent effects. Instead, the special effects for handled by Joe Castro, who Walz also previously worked with in Blind.
“The only thing we told him, ‘Look, the special effects for the kills for That’s a Wrap have to be a little bit over the top.’ Because it’s more of a horror comedy and it’s not taken seriously, you know, the movie by itself […] and he really did a good job. So I think fans of blood and gore and guts will be happy.”
A Little Bit More Serious
One of the things that slasher movies are most known for are the kills, and That’s a Wrap does not disappoint. There’s one death scene where, if you were to say ‘that scene’ regarding That’s a Wrap, then people who have seen the movie will know exactly what you’re talking about. However, as in several horror movies, the body count in the film includes characters who the audience may not want to see dead. How intentional is that? Did Walz enjoy torturing his audience”
“Yeah. [laughs] No, but I think that’s actually a perfect example, if people like the characters, that’s a good sign for how well the characters are written and how good the actors are. So you like seeing them on screen, that’s even better than when we kill them. Because then, people probably get emotional, or they don’t know why. So I like that a lot, especially for me. When I watched Scream 6 in the theater, and I saw that, when the killer attacked Gale Weathers, she’s one of my favorite characters in the franchise. I was sitting there, I was so close to crying.”
Though there are plenty of jokes within That’s a Wrap, the film does contain some serious scenes as well (especially if you fall in love with some characters). According to Walz, the hardest part of the movie was striking the right balance between the two. “It’s a really thin line. So, of course, we had a lot of funny moments, but also, especially at the end, it’s more serious. So you can’t go too over the top.” However, Walz believes that they were able to find that balance, recounting a story that happened at the movie’s premiere.
“People had fun with it through the whole movie, but at the end, the whole theater was silent. And everyone was listening to what’s going on and the monologue and all that. So that was very exciting, and nobody was laughing at the end, which is a good sign as well. People didn’t think, ‘Okay, that’s a funny moment too,’ because it’s not. The end is really about the industry and the actors and the people working in it, so I think we found the right balance for it.”
That’s a Wrap will play at Popcorn Frights on October 18 before being made available on VOD on October 25.