Vital Thrills has your exclusive look at a clip from Uncaged, the horror thriller written and directed by Dutch filmmaker Dick Maas (Saint, Amsterdamned). The movie will be available on VOD, Digital HD, and DVD on March 17.
In Uncaged, a gruesomely-slaughtered farmer’s family is found just outside of Amsterdam. The police call Royal Zoo’s veterinarian, Lizzy, for help and she immediately sees what must have caused the bloody mutilations: an enormous, aggressive lion.
Nobody believes Lizzy and it isn’t until after a bloodbath at the main park that the authorities agree with her plan to deploy the British hunter, Jack, to catch the killer lion. However, tensions rise as Lizzy’s boyfriend Dave starts to worry about Lizzy and Jack’s previous romantic relationship getting in the way. But even he must admit that Jack is their best chance to prevent more bloodshed on the city streets.
Uncaged stars Sophie Van Winden, Julian Looman, Mark Frost, Reinus Krul, and Victor Löw. It was produced by Maria Peters, Dave Schram, and Dick Maas.
Distributed by 4Digital Media, the movie’s production companies include Shooting Star Film Company and Parachute Pictures.
We caught up with Maas, who told us more about the film that was released overseas under the name Prey.
Vital Thrills: What are the challenges of shooting a film in tourist-heavy Amsterdam?
Dick Maas: Shooting a movie in Amsterdam is so much more difficult nowadays than it used to be in the eighties when I shot “Amsterdamned.”
I think “Amsterdamned” also contributed greatly to the influx of tourists. The movie was distributed worldwide and I portrayed Amsterdam as a very interesting city. So maybe it was my own fault that shooting here — I also live in the centre of Amsterdam — became more difficult. Shooting here has become quite expensive and it is difficult to get permission. But you forget all the hassle once you are on the set and have this great photogenic city as a backdrop.
VT: How was the lion brought to life? Was it a combination of special and practical effects?
Dick Maas: When I was setting up the movie, the first question that arose was: how are we going to portray the lion? My initial thought was to work with a real lion but that proved to be extremely difficult. We couldn’t get permission to work with a real lion in the streets of Amsterdam, and furthermore we found out that male lions are extremely lazy. They will perform one action in a day, for instance running from left to right, and then they will sleep for the rest of the day. They are worse than actors!
So we decided to use a combination of a 3D animated lion and a mechanical, animatronic lion. The animatronic lion was specifically built for the movie and in my opinion looks terrific. It was, however, difficult to move around because it was bulky and heavy. For instance, to get the animal into the ambulance for the bloody climactic fight, we had to cut the car in two.
VT: Why do you think the movie was such a success in China upon release?
Dick Maas: In Chinese culture the lion symbolizes strength, stability and superiority. There are no lions in the wild living in China but they are portrayed as statues, guardians of tombs and temples. I think the lion in the movie was what grabbed their attention. And also, apparently they like horror movies. Almost 1.5 million people in China saw the movie in the first three weeks.
The disappointing thing was that they cut out all of the gory stuff. There was very little blood left in the movie. [SPOILER] For instance: There is a scene where the heroine saws off the leg of the lion hunter to lure the lion into a freezer. They cut most of that scene, so it was unclear what she was doing and I think the Chinese audience was wondering what the heck was going on. And of course they will blame that on the director…
VT: What can we expect next from the filmmaker of such classics as De Lift, Amsterdamned and Flodder?
Dick Maas: I’m not sure what my next project will be. I have several finished scripts lying around. A sequel to “Saint,” and a big action/comedy. It is very difficult nowadays to find funding for a movie in Holland in general and especially for genre movies. I also have several television series in development — one based on my movie “Amsterdamned” — so that is also an option.
VT: Do you have any update on the documentary about your life?
Dick Maas: As I understood, the documentary is well on it’s way. It should be finished in the coming months. They are planning a theatrical release somewhere in the fall. I am very flattered that there will be a documentary of me and my movies, but also a bit scared. You always hope to be portrayed as a nice guy who makes great movies. But the fear of coming across as an *sshole who shouldn’t be in this business is also on my mind.