EXCLUSIVE: Interview with “Extraterrestrial” filmmaking team the Vicious Brothers

The month of October is prime time for film releases, particularly those within the horror genre. With that in mind, MuggleNet spoke via telephone with filmmaking duo the Vicious Brothers to discuss their latest film, Extraterrestrial. A blend of science fiction and horror, the film stars actor Freddie Stroma, who plays arrogant Gryffindor Cormac McLaggen in the final three Harry Potter films.

The synopsis of the movie is as follows:

Prepare to get your fears probed as the brilliant Vicious Brothers (Grave Encounters) bring the ‘Scare-filled’* and ‘Extra-terrifying’** EXTRATERRESTRIAL to UK cinemas this Halloween!

Still reeling from her parents[‘] divorce, April (Brittany Allen, Defiance, Dead Before Dawn) is dragged back to the vacation cabin she spent fond summers at as a child accompanied by a group of friends. Her trip down memory lane takes a dramatic and terrifying turn when a fireball descends from the sky and explodes in the nearby woods. Lead by her boyfriend (Freddie Stroma, Harry Potter [and t]he Half[-]Blood Prince, Pitch Perfect), the group venture[s] out toward the crash site and discover[s] the remnants of a ship from another planet along with footprints that suggest its alien occupants are still alive. The college friends soon find themselves caught in the middle of something bigger and more terrifying than they ever thought possible.

Naturally, we have to ask the Vicious Brothers (whose real names are Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz) from where, exactly, their handle came. They explain that when it came time for them to make a title card for their first film, Grave Encounters, they didn’t like how their names looked side by side and wanted something that would allow them to brand themselves for greater visibility. “I would look in the dictionary and read them off to Colin,” Stuart adds, noting that he had spouted off a number of ideas before reaching the letter “V.” It was at this point that “vicious” stood out to the both of them (winning out, they explain in jest, over some less suitable monikers).

Before they were ever “Vicious,” Minihan and Ortiz met as teenagers on a filmmaking forum in 1999. Extraterrestrial was their first film idea, which they conceived as 20-year-olds at a California In-N-Out Burger. They soon realized, however, that their ideas for the project were hardly feasible: They had written the film in the basement of Minihan’s mother’s home in Canada, and neither had the connections nor the budget to bring it to fruition.

Extraterrestrial remained in the back of Minihan and Ortiz’s minds, however, and they were determined to make it work. “Ultimately,” says Ortiz, “we rewrote the movie, like, 20 times.” The final product ended up being Grave Encounters (2011), a “found footage”-style film about a paranormal reality television crew. It was well-received at the Tribeca Film Festival and spawned a sequel, Grave Encounters 2, released in 2012. At the mention of the cult following that the film has attained, however, the two seem unaffected. Ortiz laughs and says that it has only been in the past year that he has noticed its rise in popularity.

The two go on to explain that Extraterrestrial is different from their previous two films; they didn’t want to repeat what they had already done and chose to use a traditional cinematic style instead of found footage. In spite of this, the Vicious Brothers make a nod to the style by way of the occasional footage from a character’s video camera. They felt it fitting in today’s era of technology, the natural impulse being to pull out a smartphone and record video of anything that seems a little out of the ordinary.

As for the characters themselves, Freddie Stroma’s Kyle is sure to surprise audiences. The Vicious Brothers were familiar with his role in Harry Potter prior to his being cast in Extraterrestrial, and Freddie, they say, was particularly excited to play a character who isn’t so arrogant—in their words, “a down-to-earth, cool person.” They add that Stroma “exudes a lot of confidence, for sure.” He was also particularly talented when it came to the American accent required of the role. In fact, they were surprised to discover that Stroma hadn’t worked with a dialect coach. “He was like, ‘Nope,’” they recall him saying, “‘I just watched a lot of movies.’”

And for those who are still aren’t convinced about seeing Extraterrestrial any time soon? “See our movie,” they echo, and it’s difficult to tell whether Minihan or Ortiz is more excited. “Our film is the alien abduction film you’ve been waiting for,” they add. “It throws everything in the kitchen sink at the audience.

Extraterrestrial is set for release in the UK on October 29 only in theaters but is also available now on iTunes and video on demand (including Amazon Instant Video) for US audiences. Note that, while the film is unrated, it contains frequent strong language as well as material that may not be suitable for younger viewers. Check out the trailer and official posters below!

Do you plan on seeing Extraterrestrial? Do you believe alien life is out there, or are you skeptical? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow the Vicious Brothers on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter!