BGSU students produce horror film ‘Beneath the Crawlspace’Written by Chase Will | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bowling Green State University’s Department of Theatre and Film is treading new ground with the completion of its first horror film, “Beneath the Crawlspace.”
This project utilizes the department’s range of talent by providing hands-on experience to student costume designers, set designers, editors, audio engineers and others aspiring toward entertainment careers.
The film follows Father Dean, who purchases an old schoolhouse with hopes of starting a church. He believes this will solve his crisis of faith, but instead discovers the building is a gateway to hell.
“This is something I based on my personal experience of buying a house,” said screenwriter and director Luke Ostrowski. “It’s a fear of all the things that go wrong, and how you’re tied into that basically forever. That gives the film gravity, more of a hook. It’s not just about the thing, but the person.”
Ostrowski has taught many film courses at the university, including Screenwriting, Film I, Senior Portfolio and The Studio Experience.
The film separates itself from mainstream horror by focusing on character development rather than jump scares, said Ostrowski, who referred to this as “slow burn horror.”
“It takes a little bit to develop, and once it does it just gets crazy,” he said.
Although he said he couldn’t divulge too much detail without spoiling the film’s surprises, Ostrowski said bad things happen once Father Dean investigates strange noises and discovers the crawlspace.
Matthew Gretzinger, who plays Father Dean, has acted in numerous theater productions across Ohio. He was cast after being recommended to Ostrowski by BGSU theater professor Sara Chambers.
“After meeting with him a few times I was able to change the drafts so that it fits him a little more,” Ostrowski said.
“It’s challenging because there’s a completely different method involved in filmmaking,” Gretzinger said. “In a play you do all the scenes in order, but in film you could be doing the last scene first and vice-versa, so you have to remember where you are and build a path for yourself.”
Gretzinger said this is the first film he’s done with such a large crew, which challenged him to find his character’s vulnerable moments.
“We have roughly 35 students on the cast and crew,” Ostrowski said. “I’m used to a small crew of four to five people, so it’s a learning experience for them and me.”
The student crew members were given the same responsibilities that would be expected in the professional field, Ostrowski said. Call sheet preparation, long hours on set and maintaining chain of command were just a few of the challenges that will prepare them for future careers, he said.
Matthew Rao is one student to benefit from the experience. His job as head gaffer requires him to work closely with the director and cinematographer in order to light each shot. This duty entails close attention to detail in order to create the film’s rich background.
“Gaffing is something I’ve been really interested in doing, so being head gaffer’s been pretty awesome because I get to position the lights where I want them,” Rao said.
“Beneath the Crawlspace” is scheduled to premiere in May, and developments can be found on the film’s Facebook page.