Filming at the abandoned Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier, Calif., turned out to be just as spooky an experience as the one portrayed in the movie, “Driftwood,” cast revealed at a screening late Friday night at Haunt X.
“Driftwood,” director Tim Sullivans latest release, takes place in an “attitude correction” camp for boys. But when 16-year-old David Forrester, played by Ricky Ullman, is sent to the camp by his misguided parents for writing in his blog the “wrong thing” about his grief over his brothers death, he uncovers a mystery no one wants to talk about.
A late–night screening of the film was followed by a short Q&A with Sullivan and several cast members, including former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page who plays the sadistic Capt. Doug Kennedy, manager of the camp. Also in attendance were Connor Ross, who plays the ghost of a former inmate who met an untimely end; Jeremy Lelliott, who plays fellow inmate Noah; and Lin Shaye, who plays Davids mother.
“The horror of the movie is not being allowed to be who you are,” said Sullivan, who researched these kinds of camps before doing the movie. In fact, he said he took some of the events and dialogue from real life events he uncovered while doing research for the film.
Several scenes in the movie take place in a chapel, where the captain gives inspirational speeches to motivate the boys to change their ways. One day, the cast and crew decided to rehearse a scene in a neighboring chapel on the campus. When they got there, they found the floor inexplicably covered with the bodies of dead flies.
Another strange event Sullivan shared happened when there was some sort of electrical problem. The lights flashed and a cross hanging in the rafters dislodged, ending up hanging upside down. Later he discovered that a kid who had stayed at the facility when it was open had hung himself there.
Page, who has faced adversity himself – growing up with dyslexia and recovering from career-ending injuries to win the wrestling championship one more time – said that the “scariest part of the movie is that it could be real.”
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