The Estate – horror and humour combine in a psychosexual love triangle
When a narcissistic son (Chris Baker), yearning for a life of luxury, and his father’s erratic gold-digging wife (Eliza Coupe) decide to kill their way into their inheritance, they employ the help of an absurdly handsome, mysterious hitman (Greg Finley), initiating a psychosexual love triangle that spirals into more than anyone bargained for. Deftly balancing sharp humor and horror, THE ESTATE delivers a perfectly campy, wildly enjoyable thrill ride that packs a deadly punch.
In Theatres and VOD October 22, 2021. Available from Shore Lane Pictures and Runners.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – James Kapner
This will come as a shock to no one, but we live in a time where the need for truth and transparency is more vital than ever. I first read writer/star Chris Baker’s initial draft of The Estate a little over two years ago after crawling into my bed seeking recuperation from a 24 hour Vegas binge with my business partner (and producer on the movie) Adam Makowka. I can’t think of a better testament to this project than the simple fact that while I had no serotonin in my body at all, not only did the story hold my attention, it actually had me laughing out loud. No easy feat when your mind is mush and the existential weight from an all nighter is compacting your very being into a pile of prehistoric ooze.
Though the world (and the story of The Estate itself) has changed a thousand times over since then, that same feeling I had reading the 1st draft is still there when I think about the project. Its bluntness, its frankness about the world and the way it works, about money, about greed, about the desire for individual gain and notoriety are all themes that are as relevant as ever. These elements will always feel timely because they are truths about the world we live in.
In a world where “alternative truths” is part of our lexicon, it is our job as filmmakers, artists, and human beings to determine what we deem truthful and what we deem important. For me, as a filmmaker and storyteller, I find myself constantly drawn back to stories that examine violence, sex, unchecked ego, and the darker sides of human nature. When tackling weighty themes, one can fall victim to sliding quickly into pretension, myself very much included. Luckily, Chris’ script possessed the magical cure for that peskiest of ailments, which is cutting, viscerally honest humor. From day one, I always felt that the comedic element of this story was our way in to creating something meaningful and resonant without being too pedantic.
It was my job then, as the warden of this film, as ringmaster of this wild circus of a world we sought to bring to life, to honor its strengths and also to amplify them. And that is what I and the team of filmmakers worked tirelessly to do. We had to continuously seek that line where we were respecting the seriousness and gravity of the world we were creating, while also allowing for moments of self awareness and levity in order to let the audience in and let them have as good of a time as we did while dreaming up this incredible, crazy, and batshit parallel universe of The Estate.
Threading that needle was no easy feat, and we achieved the end result by making a thousand tiny yet completely instrumental good choices along the way. From working with the legendary casting director Donna Morong on finding the right talent to put in front of the camera with the perfect skill sets and personalities to bring these characters to life and imbue them with a sense of reality as well as hyper-reality, to staffing this movie up with incredibly phenomenal crew members like cinematographer Mike Simpson, production designer Matthew Ellis Siltala, and costume designer Cocoa Rigal, who were all invigorated by the material and eager to bring every ounce of talent and knowledge they had to the project, to working closely with the editor Patrick Sanchez Smith to craft something that was cohesive, gripping, and meaningful out of all of these beautiful elements we had to play with, this film has truly taken on a life of its own, which is always the goal.
It has been my greatest honor and my biggest source of pride to work on this project and to see the hard
work and brilliance of everyone involved come to fruition. In the end, my hope is that the film makes people laugh, it makes people dig their fingernails into their couch in moments, and it makes people see the world a little differently after seeing our current reality reflected through the distorted yet utterly true lens of The Estate.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.