Jose here. When Ryder (Logan Miller) and his parents Cindy (Robin Weigert) and Don (Richard Schiff) arrive in Nebraska for a family reunion, things spiral out of hand when the teenager is implicitly accused of molesting one of his younger cousins. Tensions rise, and family secrets come to the surface, and yet nothing in this plot description makes justice to the uniqueness of Take Me to the River. Matt Sobel’s debut feature combines the eerie mood of a horror film, with the droll work of the best Finnish masters, to create a dreamlike experience that creeps under your skin. I sat down with director Sobel, and stars Weigert and Miller to discuss the film’s mood, their approach to the enigmatic screenplay, and the reaction the film sparks in audiences.
JOSE: Take Me to the River feels like it’s always a second away from turning into a horror movie. How did you set up that mood with your cast and crew?
MATT SOBEL: Years before making the film I was describing what I wanted to do to a friend, who said it sounded like I wanted to do something “uncanny”. I said it was more than just strange, so my friend suggested I looked up the definition of the word in the dictionary, and he was exactly right, the very specific meaning of it is: something that is simultaneously familiar and welcoming, and off putting and unfamiliar. That dissonance creates a very strong feeling of discomfort in everyone, so I spoke to my DP about how to achieve this every step of the way.