SURVIVING EVIL is a locally produced horror feature starring Billy Zane (Titanic, Memphis Belle), Colin Moss (Number 10), Natalie Mendoza (Moulin Rouge), Christina Cole (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), Louise Barnes (Egoli, Jozi H) and Joel Torre (Zorro). The film marks writer/director Terence Daw's (Brookside, Emmerdale) directorial debut.
The story is set on a small island in the Philippines, but the filmmakers found perfect locations in South Africa and with the support of National Parks was able to shoot in the 253 hectare Stainbank Nature Reserve in Yellowwood Park, Durban. The park has the lush tropical vegetation the filmmakers needed and was a perfect double for a Philippine island. The only other location used was a stretch of beach near Umkomaas - this was for the scene where the crew arrive on the island.
Principal photography commenced in March 2008 and was completed in 5 weeks.
A TV crew arrives at the remote Mayaman Island in the Philippines to shoot a jungle survival special. The team is led by RACHEL (Louise Barnes) the director, Cameraman DEX (Colin Moss), Sound Recordist PHOEBE (Christina Cole) plus Presenter & survival-skills expert SEB (Billy Zane). Their guides are two Filipinos, JOEY (Joel Torre) and the pretty CECILIA or "Chill" (Natalie Jackson Mendoza). They plan to shoot Seb's survival techniques and film the elusive Isarog tribe, natives of the island. Good humour prevails at first but Rachel and Dex have a history - so Dex's attraction to Chill quickly causes jealousy and tension.
Soon the crew witness violent movement in the trees, hear eerie cries and glimpse figures moving fast through the jungle canopy. Nerves are on edge - not helped by a severed human arm falling from a tree. But Rachel won't quit - they have a show to make. Joey & Chill venture into the jungle to find the Isarog village, but only the half-eaten skeletal corpses of the natives remain. Joey begs Chill not to tell the others, as they will insist on leaving the island. He doesn't reveal the secret mission he has to fulfil.
The crew hear about the legend of the Aswang - horrifying, mythical creatures from Philippine folklore who live in the trees, can change their shape, hunt for human flesh and crave the blood of pregnant women. Only fire deters them and they won't venture below ground. When Phoebe discovers she is pregnant she becomes afraid, confiding in Chill.
Joey leads Chill to a cave where she learns of his secret mission - to retrieve hidden Japanese gold from WWII. Chill is angry but Joey's motive is to help his family. Using dynamite he blasts a hole in the floor of an old Japanese gun emplacement.
On the beach Phoebe finds a small 'cocoon' inside of which is a bloody humanoid baby which makes her hysterical. Then Seb is bitten by a fearsome Aswang creature with luminous eyes and rodent-like teeth. The traumatised crew regroup, with Phoebe blaming her condition for bringing out the creatures. At night primal cries and furious motion in the trees terrify the crew at the campfire. Dex tries to call base on the satellite phone but the batteries are dead. The other sat phone is with Joey.
At the gun tower Joey gives Chill his rifle and descends into the dark pit. He finds gold but when Chill has to fight off the hideous creatures he climbs back up - and is savaged by the Aswang. Fleeing the cave Chill sees the huge, foul-looking Aswang Nest and escapes back into the jungle. She makes it back to camp where the others are gathering weapons. They are attacked with lightning speed by ferocious Aswang and after a desperate fight they take a life raft and head for the sea - but another terrifying attack kills Dex and sends the others running for their lives into the claustrophobic night jungle.
Seb, Rachel, Phoebe & Chill light fire torches and trek towards the safety of the cave. But Seb falls into a jungle ravine taking Phoebe with him. He is killed by the creatures, leaving Phoebe to make a frantic run through the jungle, back to the ghostly camp where she makes plans to flee the island.
Rachel & Chill reach the gun tower and with the rifle left behind Rachel shoots several creatures. But trying to get below ground a rope breaks and Rachel plummets into the pit. Chill grabs Joey's dynamite and blasts the attacking creatures. Outside she is taken by huge flying Aswang with bat-like wings, but manages to drop a lighted fuse into the bag and grabs it. In the creature's nest she sees a gruesome vision of hell before everything explodes in a massive fireball. On the beach Phoebe manages to launch the life raft into the sea. Down in the pit Rachel's hand twitches as Joey's satellite phone starts ringing above.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
TERENCE DAW (Writer-Director)
Coming from a strong editing background, Terence has directed over 30 hours of UK network TV drama, including action film series ThiefTakers for Carlton TV, police drama The Bill for Thames, Channel 4's gritty series Brookside, Yorkshire TV's Heartbeat and popular serial Emmerdale. Also Central Television's single drama Being is Believing. Most recently he directed the feature-length thriller Emmerdale Revenge, distributed in the UK and internationally by Granada Media.
Living in London and Los Angeles Terence has written numerous film scripts and TV treatments. Screenplays include; A Walk in the Night - a dark thriller, optioned by Nova Plus Entertainment; Body Talk - set in the world of dance, commissioned by Monarex Hollywood Corp; Independent-produced The Magic Wok - a romantic comedy set in a Los Angeles restaurant and Frightener, a quirky thriller. Most recently Terence has written UK features Grateful, a dark comedy-thriller, occult thriller Terror Rising (as co-writer) Soleá, a family musical-drama, and his latest screenplays are Sunday for Seven Days, a contemporary comedy, and Surviving Evil, an action-horror movie set in the Philippines, which completed photography in 2008.
An early career in the editing rooms of Thames TV and London Weekend Television (LWT) led to the role of Promotions Producer - writing, editing & producing LWT's on-air promo trailers. After writing and directing segments of LWT's Saturday Scene Terence became a Freelance Director, with assignments covering fast-paced live coverage, multi-camera shoots and film - across a broad range of network shows, children's series, music, arts, documentaries and film drama.
Also for broadcast network TV Terence has directed Here & Now, a 26 part series of dance, arts and music for Central TV, and the primetime special Ravi Shankar in Concert, made for Channel 4 and PBS in America. The 10 part children's series Chips Comic was produced for Channel 4, and film documentaries include Chinatown Liverpool, The Jah People, Wurlitzer in the House and the RTS nominated Mighty Hunter.
Award-winning Corporate and Advertising work has comprised scripting & directing credits for major clients including: Beechams, Roche, Volvo, Hilton Hotels and Citibank.
Read an interview with writer-director Terence Daw
ANTON ERNST (Producer)
Anton Ernst grew up in a small mining town 'Swartklip' in the North West Province. He has always had a fascination for feature films and all creative mediums. In 1994 - 1996 he studied B.Com. Economics at the University of Pretoria and left in 1997 to start production work on SABC television shows like 'Hotnotsgode'. In this period he also freelanced at Franz Marx Films at the national soap 'Egoli'. After Egoli he worked as assistant production accountant on the feature film 'Red Phone' starring Arnold Vosloo and Michael Ironside.
After this Anton worked for a extensive period in London, with Bauer Martinez Studios, ending up being finance executive and co - producer on various movies that was shot in Europe and in North America.
These movies included 'Modigliani' starring Andy Garcia, 'Out of Season' starring Dennis Hopper, 'Dot Kill' starring Armand Assante.
In 2004 he produced the highly explosive action movie 'Wake of death' starring Jean-Claude van Damme and 2006 brought Number 10 to cinemas nationwide in South Africa. "Number 10" starred Colin Moss and Mandoza.
In 2007, he did the horror movie 'Cryptid' starring Lori Petty from 'Tank girl' and later that year produced the South African inspired 'Lullaby' starring Academy Award nominated actress Melissa Leo and Lisa Marie Schneider.
2008 Anton produced 'Surviving Evil' a very slick and entertaining horror movie starring Billy Zane("Titanic", "Memphis Belle"), Colin Moss, Christina Cole("Casino Royale) and Natalie Mendoza("The Descent.")
Read an interview with producer Anton Ernst
DAVID PUPKEWITZ (Producer)
After founding Focus Films in 1982 and until the success of his first feature film in 1995, David was concurrently the managing director of a group of financial service companies. He is also a film industry consultant, conducting seminars on film development and finance under the auspices of the NSCTP of the UK's National Film and Television School. In his 27 years as a film and television producer he has worked together with many internationally famous directors and actors, such as George Sluizer, Pete Postlewhaite, Samuel Jackson, Robert Carlyle Ronny Yu and many others. His most recent films are The 4th Kind starring Milla Jovovich, Surviving Evil with Billy Zane and Natalie Mendoza and Master Harold … and the Boys, direct by Lonny Price and starring Ving Rhames and Freddie Highmore.
David holds a Bachelor of Business Science (Hons) degree and a BA Philosophy (Hons) degree from University College London.
MALCOLM KOHLL (Producer)
Malcolm has worked as a freelance writer and producer since 1978. His first commissioned work was for the classic BBC Sci-Fi series, Dr Who; his first feature film as writer and co-producer was the $10m The Fourth Reich (1990); and he developed and produced Secret Society, Julie's Geist, The 51st State and The Bone Snatcher for Focus Films. Recent credits with Focus include Chemical Wedding, Surviving Evil, Master Harold…and the Boys and is currently in preparation on his own writing project, Heaven & Earth. In his capacity as Head of Development and in-house Producer for Focus Films, Malcolm is developing a slate of films across a variety of budgets and genres for the next three years.
Malcolm holds a BA in Journalism and a postgraduate Diploma in Film and Television from Middlesex Polytechnic.
ABOUT THE CAST
BILLY ZANE (Seb)
William George Zane Jr., better known as Billy Zane, was born on February 24, 1966, in Chicago, Illinois, USA to parents William George Zane Sr. and Thalia Zane. Both of his parents ran a medical technical school. Billy also has a sister named Lisa Zane, an actress born in 1961. Billy was bitten by the acting bug early on. In his early teens, he attended Harand Camp of the Theater Arts in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. In 1982, he attended the American School in Switzerland. His high school days were spent at Francis Parker High School in Chicago, Illinois. Daryl Hannah and Jennifer Bealsalso attended Parker, prior to Billy's attendance. Soon after graduating high school, Billy decided to venture out to California to try his hand at acting. Within three weeks, he won his very first big screen role in Back to the Future, playing the part of Match, one of Biff's thugs. He would later reprise that role for the sequel. Then after a small role in the film Critters, he landed starring roles in several television movies. In 1989, Billy filmed Dead Calm. It was on the set of this movie that he met his future wife, Lisa Collins. They were married from 1988-1995. In 1996, Billy starred in The Phantom and in 1997 as Cal Hockley in the billion dollar grossing Titanic. Then in 1999, he starred in the television movie Cleopatra where he met his soon-to-be fiancé, actress Leonor Varela from whom he subsequently split.
COLIN MOSS (Dex)
Colin Moss was first introduced to South African audiences as Stuart Buller in the popular daily drama Isidingo. After just under two years on the show he quit and moved to Cape Town. Since then his television engagements have included presenting City Life, Fear Factor SA, Idols 2003, Top Billing, Idols 2005 and Idols 2007.
His film roles have included the role of the protagonist, Chad, in Crazy Monkey's Straight Out of Benoni, the title role in Number 10 and the role of Jake in the controversial local comedy Big Fellas. His first major role in an international film was playing Officer DeWitt in The World Unseen which played to packed houses at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the London International Film Festival and recently won an award for Best Director at the Phoenix Film Festival
NATALIE MENDOZA (Cecilia "Chill")
Natalie Jackson Mendoza (born 12 August 1978) is a Hong Kong-born Australian actress and musician. She is best known for her role as one of the main characters, Jackie Clunes in the British TV comedy Hotel Babylon and as tough girl Juno in the acclaimed horror thriller The Descent.
She was born in Hong Kong to a Filipino father and Australian mother, and was raised in Sydney and Melbourne, and attended Presentation Star of the Sea Secondary College until half way through year 11 when she was accepted into Cats the Musical after auditioning alongside her sister. In 1998, Mendoza formed the band Jackson Mendoza with her sister Rebecca. They had minor success, releasing two singles that reached the Top 30 in Australia before disbanding in 2000, while Mendoza was achieving great success in her television roles.
Mendoza appeared in Moulin Rouge!, in which she appeared as the dancer 'China Doll' after losing the part of Satine to Nicole Kidman. After Moulin Rouge! she began working on a solo album in Melbourne. Mendoza was, until early 2001, engaged to Australian singer, David Campbell. When filming The Great Raid, she became involved with her co−star Joseph Fiennes, and moved to London to live with him. In 2006, she appeared in the role of Australian immigrant and head of housekeeping Jackie Clunes in the British drama series Hotel Babylon. In April 2006, she married Eliot Kennedy.
Mendoza has appeared on stage in such musicals as Miss Saigon, Cats, Sweet Charity and Les Miserables.
She recently starred in BBC's TV series Hotel Babylon. In 2007, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama Absolution. She was the "face" for Voodoo Dolls surf/ski apparel clothing line In London and Australia in 2003.
CHRISTINA COLE (Phoebe)
Cole won the role of Clarissa Payne in What A Girl Wants (2003), starring opposite Colin Firth and Amanda Bynes, while still at drama school. She graduated early to begin filming. She was then cast as Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet at Theatr Clwyd.
Cole's first lead role was that of Cassie Hughes in Hex. She portrayed Cassie for the whole of the first season of Hex and the first three episodes of the second. Upon her departure the character was killed off. Co-star Jemima Rooper has stated that the reason for Cole's exit from the show was that she wanted to move on.
After leaving Hex, Cole went on to appear in the critically acclaimed Jane Eyre TV serial, for the BBC, and guest starred as Lilith in the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code". She provided an audio commentary for the episode on the DVD release of the show's third season, alongside David Tennant.
Other roles include a cameo in the James Bond film, Casino Royale (2006) as the receptionist in the Nassau hotel where Bond checks in, and Diana Mann in the pilot episode of Cane. This was Cole's first appearance on American television. Most recently she has appeared in Sold, a sitcom broadcast on ITV, playing Mel, The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007), as Jenny Walker, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), as Charlotte Warren.
She also played Caroline Bingley in Lost in Austen, once again alongside Jemima Rooper.
Cole appears in a number of forthcoming film and television productions. On television she will play Dr Sarah King in Poirot: Appointment with Death. She will also be starring in the upcoming films Surviving Evil (2008), alongside Natalie Mendoza and Billy Zane, and Doghouse (2009), with Danny Dyer and Billy Murray.
She has also been cast in the lead role of Maggie Hill, a brilliant surgeon who endures adult-onset schizophrenia, in a pilot for Fox.
Read an interview with writer-director Terence Daw
Read an interview with producer Anton Ernst
PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN FILMMAKING