Vincent Van Horn stars in Tyler Savage’s latest film “Stalker,” a gripping and dramatic thriller that explores the world of rideshare services and social media.
The film stars Van Horn stars as Andy, a Los Angeles newcomer yearning to make friends following a recent breakup. Christine Ko (FX’s Dave) and Michael Joplin also star as Sam and Roger, respectively.
After Andy gets a ride from Roger, the two become fast friends. Unfortunately, Roger’s behavior soon proves too unusual and creepy for Andy, who decides to avoid Roger in favor of focusing on his new relationship with Sam. This sends Roger spiraling, taking his odd behavior to new heights.
The film unfolds in unpredictable ways that will keep audiences guessing until the very end. With many twists and turns along the way, Stalker is a triumphant thriller from start to finish. From Savage’s phenomenal performance behind the camera, giving the story countless layers of creativity and edge, to Van Horn, Ko, and Joplin’s compelling performances on screen, the film shines on all levels.
The Knockturnal recently checked in with Tyler Savage and Vincent Van Horn in advance of the film’s release to talk all things Stalker.
The Knockturnal: What was your inspiration for the film and where did you get the idea?
Tyler Savage: It started with an awkward interaction with a rideshare driver. I was also looking to write something to work on with Vincent and Michael since they’re both close friends and have a great natural dynamic together. When my co-writer and Dash and I started talking about it, the idea of doing a thriller about the perils of digital culture came up and we sort of went from there.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about your character, Andy, and what he is up to when the audience first meets him?
Vincent Van Horn: Well right at the beginning of the movie you meet Andy as he’s making social media stories of him packing up his drum set for his move from Austin to Los Angeles. I think it’s a great introduction and insight on many aspects of Andy’s character and story.
The Knockturnal: Stalker uses many unique storytelling components such as Instagram stories, different lenses, and angles to show hidden cameras and FaceTimes, and text messages appearing on screen. Can you talk about what inspired you to tell the story in this way?
Tyler Savage: I mostly just wanted the world to feel familiar and dynamic. And I also thought it would be sort of disarming for viewers to see those FaceTime and Instagram sections. It almost makes you feel closer to the world and the characters because it’s inherently relatable. We also go from a 2:39 to 1:85 aspect at a certain point in the movie, which I hoped would convey the idea of the world or our view of the world opening up or becoming more complete.
The Knockturnal: What initially attracted you to the role of Andy and what was your favorite part about portraying him?
Vincent Van Horn: Initially it was a lot of things that attracted me to the role. It was written and kind of tailored for me so already there were a million things personally in common with Andy but there were enough interesting differences and challenges in there that had me eager to tackle the role. But most of all my favorite thing was knowing I was going to be able to work with a lot of friends on bringing the story to life.
The Knockturnal: When you were writing the film with Dash Hawkins, was there a particular scene or moment that you were most excited to direct/see come to life?
Tyler Savage: Yeah, from the start I knew some of the earlier scenes with Vincent and Michael would be a lot of fun to shoot. I love the blend of humor and dread, so the bar scene with them was one of my favorites. And the warehouse climax was certainly a challenge I was looking forward to as well.
The Knockturnal: What scene or moment from the film are you most excited for audiences to see?
Vincent Van Horn: The warehouse scene at the end by far. There’s a lot of moving pieces. It was the toughest to shoot and it was the most rewarding for me personally. And I think everyone on and off the screen involved killed it at what they do. There’s high tension and emotion and some interesting turns in the story that hopefully has the audience upset in all the right ways.
The Knockturnal: Do you have a favorite memory from production?
Tyler Savage: While the movie gets pretty bleak, the production was honestly joyful for me. One of my favorite memories was shooting some experimental dream stuff against a rear projection screen. It was one of those things you sort of discover in the moment, and we were all excited by it.
The Knockturnal: Do you have a favorite memory from set?
Vincent Van Horn: Favorite memory on set is going to sound cheesy but it was just waking up every day feeling so excited (I’m normally not much of a morning person) to go out and do what you love with great people.
The Knockturnal: Were there any unexpected challenges that you ran into while filming?
Tyler Savage: When we were shooting the climax, we nearly got shut down by the LAPD. We were a little late on filing the permit for that day, so we had to take a risk and just go for it. Luckily it was late on a Friday and I think the cops had better things to do than shut us down.
The Knockturnal: Is there a particular scene or moment that was your favorite to bring to life?
Vincent Van Horn: There’s a scene in the movie where I get to show off some of my drumming skills and it was a lot of fun to collaborate with now good friend and composer on the film Devin Johnson.
The Knockturnal: How would you describe the film in just five words?
Tyler Savage: Just keep your eyes open.
The Knockturnal: If you could personally tell your character Andy one thing, what would it be?
Vincent Van Horn: Don’t move to LA! Haha. But if you do, don’t be so trusting with strangers online or in real life
The Knockturnal: What do you hope audiences take away from watching Stalker?
Tyler Savage: I hope people feel that it shows that you can do something fresh within a familiar framework. Hopefully, it doesn’t give people trust issues, though I think there’s a slight risk of that…
The Knockturnal: Stalker shows a darker side of social media, what are your thoughts on social media?
Vincent Van Horn: My personal thoughts on social media are much like my thoughts on anything really. Moderation. Whether you are creating or ingesting content. Don’t overdo it and be conscious of how much of your personal life you put out there and how much more meaningful and rewarding it is to put most of your energy in things around you in reality.
Stalker is available On Demand and Streaming on June 18.
Image credit: Alex Dubin (Submersive Media)