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The Apology Combines Hitchcockian Chamber Piece and Revenge Thriller

In this episode of Castle Talk, Jason chats with Alison Star Locke, writer and director of The Apology, a new psychological thriller coming to Theaters, Streaming, Shudder, and AMC+ on December 16.

The Apology
The Apology poster and Castle Talk logo were used with permission 

Say the producers about the film:

Twenty years after the disappearance of her daughter, recovering alcoholic Darlene Hagen (Anna Gunn) is preparing to host Christmas celebration with her best friend Gretchen (Janeane Garofalo). Late Christmas Eve, Darlene's estranged ex-brother-in-law, Jack (Linus Roache) arrives unannounced, and he has a secret, this isn't too much of a spoiler because it's what the movie's about, he knows something about what happened to Anna Gunn's daughter.

Opening the same week as the wonderfully mad butchery of Christmas Bloody Christmas, Locke takes her Christmas horror entry in the opposite direction, making what she calls a "chamber piece" of tension, referring to films with very small casts, usually in a game of wits, like Hitchcock's Rope. "It's a revenge thriller," she says– but a female point of view and a female main character mixed with the slow burn of grief and horror change the way a revenge thriller might play out. Locke talked about the process, where leads Anna Gunn and Linus Roache rehearsed (often via Zoom) before the actual shoot. 

Locke spoke about how Linus Roache's character fits into the current "nice guy" discourse– here's a guy who has done terrible things and still wants to be acknowledged, even appreciated, as someone who somehow is the victim of his circumstances. She also talks about the horror of being the mom and advocate for any kind of child with needs, including the missing. "People can say the strangest things to you," says Locke, who has often been in a position of advocacy for her own special-needs daughter. "You have to remind them," just as Gunn's character does, "that your child is not just a topic but a person."

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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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