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The Adult Fears of There's Something Wrong with the Children

In this episode of Castle Talk, Jason chats with Roxanne Benjamin, director of There’s Something Wrong with the Children.

In this episode of Castle Talk, Jason chats with Roxanne Benjamin, director of There's Something Wrong with the Children, available on digital and on-demand on January 17. 

The Adult Fears of There's Something Wrong with the Children
There's Something Wrong With The Children Poster, used with permission.

Say the producers:

There's Something Wrong with the Children
DIRECTOR: Roxanne Benjamin
WRITERS: T.J. Cimfel & Dave White
CAST: Alisha Wainwright, Zach Gilford, Amanda Crew, Carlos Santos

When Margaret (Wainwright) and Ben (Gilford) take a weekend trip with longtime friends Ellie (Crew) and Thomas (Santos) and their two young children (Guiza and Mattle), Ben begins to suspect something supernatural is occurring when the kids behave strangely after disappearing into the woods overnight.

Benjamin talks about the curious sacrifices that adults make to their children and how a horror film can exploit that surprising power balance. In the movie, one of the children's greatest strengths is accusing one of the adults of attacking them. She talks about directing the kids and helping them figure out how to play the many layers of their performance. The film plays with several kinds of adult fears around kids: the fear of having children with the wrong partner, of being with someone who is a sort of adult kid themself forever (the "Peter Pan Syndrome" partner), and even adults'– completely irrational but powerful– fears of being accused of harming children.

The film itself takes place around a strange old structure – actually ruins of Fort Macomb near New Orleans– that, with their overgrowth and state of decay, can seem part manmade, part otherworldly. "It's actually been used in a lot of genre movies, so that was a little concerning to me at the time. Because I was trying to figure out how to shoot this, so just doesn't look like how it always looks. So I tried to shoot it very, you know, almost claustrophobically, so that you're never really getting a sense of it on the outside aside of when they first, like, come up to it. And then the [establishing shot] of it is not the building at all."

A great part of the conversation is where Benjamin explains the process of matching up sets and locations with what you're supposed to be shooting according to the script.


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Jason HendersonAbout Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson, author of the Young Captain Nemo (Macmillan Children's) and Alex Van Helsing (HarperTeen) series, earned his BA from University of Dallas in 1993 and his JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1996. His popular podcasts “Castle Talk” and “Castle of Horror” feature interviews and discussion panels made up of best-selling writers and artists from all genres. Henderson lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters.
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