In the wake of a messy break-up, Andy Escobedo decides to start fresh, relocating from Austin to Los Angeles. Eager to make new connections, he befriends Roger, an unusual rideshare driver. But when Roger’s behavior gets too strange for comfort, Andy blows him off, choosing to focus on a budding relationship with his new girlfriend, Sam. This unhinges Roger, who begins to torment Andy, ensuring that his stay in L.A. is short-lived.
The increasingly creepy film follows a lonely transplant to the City of Angels who forms a dangerous friendship with a rideshare driver. Stalker world premiered at Arrow Video FrightFest in 2020 and makes a triumphant return to the UK with a VOD launch on 21st May.
Stalker made its world premiere at London’s Arrow Video FrightFest Digital Edition in August. A highlight of the festival, it was was hailed by critics, who praised the film for “a stellar cast, a tight script and strong direction (Entertainment Focus) and warned “you might not be so quick to strike up a conversation with that stranger after this” (Starburst). Savage was commended as a filmmaker who “commits to the full, disturbing, marrow-rich content of his vision from first minute to last” (Flickering Myth). Stalker went on to make its North American debut at Austin Film Festival in the Dark Matters program before being picked up by Vertical Entertainment.
Vincent Van Horn and Michael Lee Joplin headline the cast as Andy and Roger, two lonely souls whose paths cross during one fateful drive. When Andy forms a blossoming connection with the beautiful Sam (Christine Ko, (“Upload”, “Dave”), Roger quickly turns obsessive with disastrous consequences. Savage (Inheritance) directed from a script he co-wrote with Dash Hawkins, and they produced alongside J.P. Castel, Chadd Harbold and Daniel Pisano.
With this second feature, I wanted to reconnect with what I’ve always loved about film. While I’m proud of my first effort (In heritance, 2017), I was afraid of failure, which made me too serious or self-aware throughout the process. With Stalker, I knew I had to find a way to get back to the feelings that drew me to film production in the first place. Collaboration is truly joyful, and that joy should ultimately be seen on the screen, no matter what type of story you’re telling. It was essential that I had a theme that I could really relate to and sink my teeth into, but it was also important that I enjoy the process of crafting a story that both honored the mysteries and thrillers that inspired me to become a filmmaker in the first place and allowed me to say something new.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, I’ve always gravitated toward stories that contain a certain level of moral ambiguity. It might come partially from growing up in Los Angeles, a city where it seems that almost every person you meet has an agenda. Or it could be the way that my parents always strived to maintain a social image that was often inauthentic. But we live in a culture that is full of deceit and misrepresentation. Social media and technology have had an incalculable and permanent impact on how we relate to each other as people. It feels like we live in a world where appearance has won out over reality, where truth is cheap and irrelevant, and where the bad guys win because they know how to manipulate our collective vulnerabilities.
My hope is that when people watch Stalker they’re encouraged to think about the times we live in, and the aspects of ourselves that we might be losing touch with. But I also obviously hope they’re simply entertained, because it’s that spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. It’s wonderfully strange how created realities give us the freedom to look at things in a new light.
I’m incredibly grateful for the support I’ve had in making this project. Above all else, doing creative work with people you care for and respect is the greatest gift a person could ask for.
Our review of Stalker will be up later on tonight so keep an eye out! This seems like one not to miss.
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