“Dead Inside” – a new film written and produced by Jennifer Zhang that signals director Pearry Teo’s return to independent horror – will be debuting at Sunset Gower Studios on February 24, 2012 as part of a special screening presented by NewFilmmakers Los Angeles. Beyond the film’s stylistic direction which blends American slasher elements with Asian ghost horror, “Dead Inside” is notable for a cast and creative team that includes Asian Americans striving to make their way in entertainment, and for the unique condition of being financed by a group of eight young Google engineers who share a love of film.
The movie also marks the first major on-screen starring role in a feature for international voice actor Matthew Mercer, whose vocal talents have given life to iconic characters in such popular franchises as Street Fighter, World of Warcraft, and Mortal Kombat. Most recently, he can be heard as the voice of “Tygra” in Cartoon Network’s hit “Thundercats” reboot.
The film tells the story of Sarah (Lala Hensely), a mentally disturbed teen who has a terrifying premonition one night when a group of high school students descend upon her home uninvited for a party. After she reveals to her houseguests that they are in grave danger, they react with hostility – brutally forcing her history of psychosis into light and ostracizing her. But as the night progresses, existing tensions are exposed and the teens begin to turn murderously against each other. Sarah must determine whether the ghostly visions that haunt her represent the preventable or the inevitable, or something entirely more sinister.
Before tapping the talents of Teo and Wally Pfister-trained cinematographer Polly Morgan, Zhang presented the script to a group of young Google engineers and tech world entrepreneurs who gathered nearly every Wednesday to watch movies at an event they dubbed “Drunk Movie Night.” Their decision to invest launched the film into production mid-2011, under the banner of DMN Films – the company they formed and named for the weekly tradition that brought them together.
“Dead Inside” marks Chinese American filmmaker Jennifer Zhang’s feature debut. Previously known for her fan-based work on the web as a producer and star of viral short films (“Street Fighter High”, “Batman: Death Wish”), the “nerdcore” fan base and significant media attention she subsequently garnered lead her to gather the resources she needed to get her first feature film green lit.
The movie is the fourth for Singaporean-born director Teo, who recently signed to direct the $10 million feature “The Return Of Captain Nemo” starring Hugh Bonneville and “Captain America”s Hayley Atwell. “Dead Inside” represents his first independent horror film since the success of his 2009 cult hit “Necromentia.”