‘The Apology’ Trailer Unleashes a New Christmas Slasher

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We had the privilege of speaking with Scooter Corkle, a Vancouver-based filmmaker. We talk about his newest release, horror/mystery The Friendship Game starring Cobra Kai’s Peyton List and Color Out of Space’s Brendan Meyer. We also touch upon the writing process and the challenges of making a film. It was an absolute pleasure, and I look forward to seeing what this well-respected talent has to offer us in the future.

Synopsis: The Friendship Game follows a group of teens as they encounter a strange object that tests their loyalty to each other and has increasingly destructive consequences the deeper they go into the game.

Interview With Director Scooter Corkle

Scooter Corkle, Director of the thriller-horror /mystery, THE FRIENDSHIP GAME, is an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of Grady Mitchell.

iHorror: I got to watch the film. I really enjoyed it. I noticed that everything was vibrant, and the acting was well done; it wasn’t forced, and it seemed natural for everybody. With all the young kids, well, I know they aren’t too young, but I compared them to my daughter’s friends; it all seemed very real to me, and the friendship game. My daughter will be turning eighteen soon, and her friends are the biggest part of her life. This film hit home, and it will resonate with the younger generation.

Scooter Corkle: I appreciate that; I hope so; thank you.

iH: And this was your second feature, correct? 

SC: That’s correct. 

iH: Was this your first actual horror film? 

SC: Yes, outside of my first short film, it was a Korean-influenced horror film called Chloe and Attie; we made it in 48 hours. It is like 8 or 12 minutes, something within there. Yes, this is definitely my first feature within the horror pantheon.

iH: Are you going to go back? 

SC: Yes, absolutely. I have always been a huge fan of genre. I love elevated genre the most. Even my first film is a small-town thriller, but it lays into the tropes and the pieces of the thriller genre that I really like. So, yeah, I will definitely be back. 

iH: When you were doing the film [The Friendship Game], what was the most challenging part? 

SC: For any film, it is going to be time. The more money you have, the bigger your budget you have, the more time you can afford. You have talent that have schedules and other shows that they are on. Everyone always that “your crew and yourself are always going to be the best; you’re going to try and get the best available.” Time is always the thing that you are going to be up against the most. We shot this pretty quickly; it was a lot of fun in a short amount of time. 

Peyton List as Zooza (Susan) Heize in the thriller/horror film, THE FRIENDSHIP GAME, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

iH: It seems like it. Psychological there was a lot there, and it was greatly paced. With many of these types of movies, I always worry that I will lose interest and get bored, but it was all paced well. 

SC: Thank you, and that all comes down to having a good editorial team. And our producers were really honest to make sure that it was moving for sure. Because at the end of the day, you want to keep the audience with you. I really wanted to make sure that our cast led the piece, which they do. And I have said to everybody, “our cast rules.” Even what you said, they are so natural, and Peyton [List] does lead the charge; she’s genuinely good. I am so excited for her fans to see her in action for sure. 

iH: I had only seen her [Peyton List] in Cobra Kai; this is my first viewing outside of that universe, she carried it, and she was just great!

SC: And it’s real. It was a real performance. Damien Ober wrote some very interesting characters to play with, and as a director, I usually give cast as much leeway as possible to own on their performance so that it does come through as naturally as possible. I am glad that you felt that. 

(L-R) Brendan Meyer as Rob Plattier, Peyton List as Zooza (Susan) Heize, Kaitlyn Santa Juana as Cotton Allen, and Kelcey Mawema as Courtney in the thriller/horror film, THE FRIENDSHIP GAME, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

iH: And I gotta talk to you about it; I don’t know if you have a name for it but the trinket, the actual game.

SC: The strange object. 

iH: [Laughs] I really enjoyed it because I got a Hellraiser vibe.

SC: Yes, absolutely. 

iH: and you know, there is something really creepy, for me at least, going to a yard or an estate sale. It is just creepy, so I really liked that. Also, at the end of the film, when you come back around full circle, [Little Spoiler], you have the two older ladies come, and the lady tries to sell them [The Friendship Game] for ten bucks. That was a good catch at the end.

SC: Yes, it’s a nice button. Again, Damien [Ober] and I looked at the tropes, played with the tropes, and then really pushed the bounds of where we can take a dramatic indie, cosmic horror. So the reference to the puzzle box from Hellraiser, we definitely love that comparison, and it is a device. “Be careful what you wish for”; was designed really, really, well, and we couldn’t have asked for a cooler object, and a lot of that is from our production designer, Richard Simpson, and that piece that he designed with some of the 3D printers is just so fun, we love it. 

iH: It is amazing what you can do with that stuff. What is your favorite horror film? Do you have one in particular that you revisit from time to time?

SC: I don’t have a favorite, but one that I like to mention is Ravenous, which is kind of a B movie but also stars Guy Pierce and Damon Albarn of Blur; he did the soundtrack. Robert Carlyle is also in it; it is like a cannibal movie during the Spanish American War. It is a really fun ride, and it can get cheezy at times, but the performers are so good that it doesn’t even matter. It is a great film that not many people have seen; I love spreading the word about it. 

iH: Ravenous; I will have to check that one out. What do you have next in the pipeline? Anything that you are working on or going to be working on? 

SC: I have lots lined up that I am working on, writing-wise. But as far as anything that has been currently green-lit, no. As you always do, I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire and a good amount of time to spend writing. I want to get into potentially doing a series, creating a series. The Flanaverse, you know? I am trying to do what Mike Flanagan has been doing. [Laughs]

(L-R) Peyton List as Zooza (Susan) Heize, Brendan Meyer as Rob Plattier, Kelcey Mawema as Courtney, and Kaitlyn Santa Juana as Cotten Allen in the thriller/horror film, THE FRIENDSHIP GAME, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of RLJE Films.

iH: [Laughs] Yeah, definitely, he’s doing it! When you start writing, do you ever get writer’s block? Stare at a blank page? Blank computer screen? Is there anything that you do to help you through the process? 

SC: Yeah, I think everyone gets a little writer’s block. I usually like to take a nap, if I’m honest, I’ll put headphones on and close my eyes, and I will give up for a little bit. I think it kind of resets my brain, and I will find a new idea; I like to structure everything. I’ll take a big board of cards and move things around, and I will try to figure out what the theme is in this part of the movie; that’s a big part of my process. I will card and outline to death before I start writing. I need to know where I am going; otherwise, I can’t be emotionally connected to it. 

iH: Very interesting, visually seeing everything with the cards. 

SC: Yeah, it needs to be practical with the cards, and I can be organic with the writing, which is important for me anyways; that’s my process. 

iH: With this film, The Friendship Game, was there a different ending? Or multiple endings? 

SC: We’ve had multiple endings. It is a movie that plays with the that I’ve been coining the “ultiverse,” the alternate universe. There were a bunch of different ways to go; I think the main thing we needed to concentrate on was Zooza, Peyton [List], and really making sure that her arch made the most sense and was a satisfying emotional arch. Where we ended up with our ending was always going to happen, we were always going to get to this point. The other endings, I think, didn’t give the audience the emotional arch that we grave, so yeah, there were multiple pieces to it, but I think we landed in the one that was always going to come. 

iH: Very good, I enjoyed it! I hope that it does well, as it should. I appreciate your time; thank you so much, and congratulations. 

SC: I am glad you liked it, and I hope your daughter gets to see it.

The film is now in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital from RLJE Films.



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