Thursday, 23 October 2014

EVENT: Debug Movie Screening by David Hewlett

At Armageddon (write up), David Hewlett exclusively screened Debug for his Melbourne fans (and New Zealand this weekend, I do believe). I want to thank David for giving us (because I think I can speak for all of us in this instance) the opportunity to see the screening. Things like this generally don't happen in Australia - we are usually the last to see anything - so we thank you for your hospitality, kindness and sheer enthusiasm to share your movie with us.

I also want to thank all those involved at Armageddon who made the screening possible at the very last moment. Even though the room was not ideal for the screening because the screen was so low and the seats were all level so it was really hard to see the screen at most times during the screening. Of course, this was not David's fault and you could tell that he was really pumped and proud to share it with us.

All the details under the cut.
Spoilers are hidden and can only be seen if text is highlighted!


The movie - written and directed by David Hewlett - is described as a science-fiction horror.
IMDB describes it as:
Six young computer hackers sent to work on a derelict space freighter, are forced to 
match wits with a vengeful artificial intelligence that would kill to be human.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I had seen the sneak preview (here) and found it most terrifying! A science fiction horror movie is not my kind of movie - just because I get freaked out really really easily and any horror movie is guaranteed to give me nightmares for weeks on end! I think my excitement to actually see this movie shows how much of a David fan I truly am if I was happy to battle a month of sleepless nights!

However, after viewing the movie, I have to say that I don't think it was scary. Yes, it did have some jumpy moments and gore - a lot of gore! But gore has never bothered me. One very gruesome scene comes to mind which was just so mind-blowingly cool! - SPOILER when a certain character's head gets stomped on. I would like to see it again. Firstly, because I enjoyed it and second, because there are some things I am unclear on - or maybe I'm just not smart enough because at its core its a smart science fiction movie. This is more so because of the limited viewing than the movie itself. 

I think it is one of those movies that the more times you watch it, the more you will pick up and the more interesting and layered the movie becomes. And mad props to David for the directing and the story which I think is brilliantly done. It is certainly a step above A Dog's Breakfast - not that that was done badly in any way, but you can tell that David must have learnt a lot since his first directorial debut.

If I was to describe this movie to anybody, I would describe it as a mix between Event Horizon and Cube. It was also described to me as very similar to Transcendence.  You can tell that a lot of money went into the amazing special effects. The quality of special effects were a-ma-zing! And I'm pretty hard to please when it comes to effects - but if you know David he would have pushed for the best effects possible. 

Also Jason Momoa is so BADASS in it! 

In conclusion, if you like smart science-fiction movies which have a bit of horror, suspense and gore than you will definitely like this movie. If you don't though - it is definitely worth a look anyway. It is very well done in every sense of the word.


As well as the screening, David spoke about the movie before and after the screening. I recorded the Q&A because I love knowing all the geeky nerd behind the scenes information that only a good special features DVD disc can tell you! (I will literally rent/buy a DVD just for special features - even if I didn't like the movie) So if you're a total movie geek like me and like to know the little geeky details, there is some interesting stuff from the Q&A that I think you will enjoy!
  • This was the first time the movie was screened apart from test screenings - which David called the bane of every film makers existence and the most painful process. 
  • ^ This actually meant the ending was changed. SPOILERS - highlight if you'd like to see (though it will probably only make sense to those who have seen the movie) There was meant to be millions of rogue programs at the end of the film but at a screening people got confused. But people who sent their photos in still get a credit at the end of the movie.
  • David has spent about two years making this movie and he says it was one of the gruelling experiences of his life.
  • The movie has about 900 visual effect shots. 
  • He said his lovely wife produced the film but also had a hand in helping write it, direct it, and basically the whole thing. He said the movie would not have happened without her. Also the best thing about having her working on the film is that on any other job David would have to go off to work on other projects - but he didn't have to on this one. He said his son likes to be on set because he can just sit around watching videos. (By the way, Baz is adorable!)
  • The idea behind the movie was to shoot in Vancouver with the same people as A Dog's Breakfast because they had so much fun making it. The movie ended up being moved and shot in Ontario - which ended up meaning they had more money to make the film. David said they were also very lucky to get Jason because it was before the hype of Game of Thrones, Aquaman, Superman etc. If the movie was being shot now they wouldn't have been able to get him.
  • He also called Jason his complete opposite. For as nerdy and uncool as David is, Jason is laid-back and cool. He also called him a sweet guy and thinks he did a fantastic job in the role. David also said that he had no control over Jason's hair cut - but joked that he loved his 80s do haha!
  • David loved the idea of even though Jason was playing someone who I guess you would call an evil character - combined with the human side of making jokes and playing around a bit instead of being serious all the time - made his hybrid character seem more scary to David. 
  • David said that he has never found silicone based technology scary - like in old movies where a robot would have champagne spilt on its arm and it would fry its motherboard - so he liked the idea of a human/machine hybrid. There was definitely a lot of talk about combining machine and human A LOT - many different stories and such. David said he did a lot of research on the subject and said he would like to shoot a science fiction documentary about the combination of machines and humans. 
  • David finds nanotechnology fascinating. Also that we people are seen as one unity but we are made up of billions of tiny cells and pieces. The fact that Jason's character looks at people in that way, David finds that fascinating. 
  • The idea behind the opener was for viewers to have a big 'wtf?' moment upon viewing. But in essence, the idea was about Jason sucking the life force of electronic people so he could play with them - SPOILER - as that's what his character does in the movie. 
  • He has always been a fan of horror - but since he has had a son he suddenly realises the lose of people in film. Like when you're a kid you can watch someone die on screen and think 'oh awesome!' but not since he has had a child. He likes the horror genre though because cinematically you get to play where others genres don't allow you to.
  • He said that they played with the genre by having women running around in underpants but there is a strong female lead. David says she called him wanting to know her character's backstory and that forced him to have to sit down and write it - SPOILER - and in the end it became one of David's favourite sequences in the movie. 
  • He has not seen Transcendence with Johnny Depp but heard it was kind of the same idea. He worried if Transcendence was good everyone would think Debug would be some lame rip off - but it did so horribly at the box office that it was good for them. 
  • David joked if there were any technical issues with the movie he had his laptop so he could show a slideshow of his vacation snaps. Bless.
  • He said the movie is shot (or a tribute?) to all those 60, 70s movies where people are barren technology where computers are going to take over and we are all doomed. His take though is we all all doomed because of us - people.
  • There will be an Australian/New Zealand DVD release. They have a Kiwi disturber who will also handle the Australian release. He said that the DVD will be some special features. The movie will also probably be able to buy online and on Australian/NZ TV. 
  • SPOILER. He explained about the scene with the glass. Originally, the guy was meant to build a maze with pipes - but the prop was so ridiculous goofy he literally said, "I've seen much better at cons" to the props department. So having to reshoot it the next day, he thought what if they put pieces of the ship into the character - because that's what Jason's character is all about. 

It would be amazing if you could share this post or even the video around, get #DebugMovie trending on Twitter or any publicity for the movie! David, thank you again! x

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