Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
On Halloween several years ago, a few kids mysteriously go missing. The case is never solved, and they are presumed dead. Years go by. Their friends — now teenagers — begin winding up dead on Halloween.
“It’s about a group of teenagers who cause the death of three people when they were younger,” said Emily DiPrimio about her first film, “Carver.”
“Now, on the anniversary of those deaths, someone is out for vengeance,” she said.
With each corpse, the killer leaves behind a calling card, a carved pumpkin.
Emily wrote this film when she was just 13 years old, directed it when she was 14.
Now 15, she has just finishing editing. The first screening of “Carver” will be in Oaklyn, New Jersey, at the Reel East Film Festival Friday night.
Emily DiPrimio, 15, directs the filming of Carver, a horror film she wrote when she was 13. (Photo courtesy of Ron DiPrimio)
Vineland resident Emily grew up in horror. As the daughter of an IT consultant who makes low-budget movies, she has been on his sets since she was 5. She started writing “Carver” after having reconstructive surgery on her foot. Born without arches, she needed a splint inserted in her foot to support the bones. It laid her up for two months.
“I got depressed because I wasn’t able to do anything,” said Emily. “My dad had the idea for ‘Carver’ a few years ago and he said, ‘Why don’t you write this script with me?'”
The script became Emily’s. With horror in her blood, she wrote the film to reflect her vision of the genre, then called the shots as the on-set director, commanding a 20-member film crew. Given 20 days to shoot, she did it in 19.
“She has a great eye,” said her father, Ron DiPrimio, who helped with a lot of the technical stuff. “I really noticed her talent for visual storytelling when we went to edit the film. She knew exactly when to get out of a scene, when not to stay too long on a cut.”
The film is a throwback to classic slasher movies such as John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” But as a 15-year-old girl, Emily brings a different perspective to the familiar tropes.
“In older horror — someone will be getting murdered and the girl just stands there and screams, instead of running away. I tried doing it so the audience is not screaming at the characters because they’re stupid,” she said. “I think it’s scarier when someone is making all the right decisions, but they still get killed in the end.”
Emily funded the film with $32,000 Kickstarter campaign. Her dad is putting aside his own filmmaking projects to help his daughter because, he said, she’s the one with the talent.