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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #68: J.M. Cravioto’s ‘Reversal’ is an Hour and a Half of Cinematic Vengeance

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #68: J.M. Cravioto's 'Reversal' is an Hour and a Half of Cinematic Vengeance

“Reversal” follows Eve, missing and presumed dead, but in reality, chained by her ankle and locked away in the dismal basement of a sexual predator. Lost to her family and friends, she wastes away in isolation between horrifying visits from her vile captor, who remains unaware that Eve has been maniacally planning her escape. With a carefully placed brick, she beats him senseless as he approaches and frees herself from his grasp at the outset of the film. But too quickly, she learns there are other girls in other houses facing sinister fates of their own. Making a deal with the devil, she vows to save them all, turning her torturer into her prisoner, one who will lead her to his prey one by one. Gleefully turning the tables on traditional horror tropes with this gorgeously shot and frenetically paced psychological thriller, director J.M Cravioto crafts a chilling tale of vengeance and rage that permeates deep into the psyche and never lets go.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

Reversal is a gritty revenge thriller about a young woman, Eve, who fights back and turns the tables on her malicious abductor.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

I honestly think this question appeals more to my insight as a director and I can say that the true core of this film is taking the concept of vengeance to its utmost extreme place. From the first few minutes of the film, the audience is pulled into our heroine’s story and shares her suffering throughout an entire night of revenge and anger and what these themes can eventually detonate.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I am a 32 year old Mexican director with 3 feature films, 2 documentaries and a action thriller based on real events that is due to come out in Mexico in 2015. “Reversal” is my first film in English and filmed outside my country, so having it screened in such an important festival such as Sundance is very exciting for me.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

One challenge was the available filming days we had. In only 20 days, we had to fit several death scenes and liters of blood on screen. We had to be creative on how to optimize our time. This was my second fictional film and fortunately, I was coming from a project that left me with time management tools I later applied to “Reversal.” I was more prepared to resolve complicated sequences when it came to the time/money decisions. 

What do you want Sundance audience to take away from your film?

First of all, I would like the audience to be entertained because to me the film is exactly that, amusement. However, I also hope they take with them a certain consideration on where we’ve ended up as human beings, living in a world where there are kidnapped, raped and irrevocably damaged women. I hope they take that thought with them, even after witnessing an hour and a half of cinematic vengeance.

Any films inspire you?

Much of my inspiration came from French-made thrillers from the early 90s and 00s. They inspired me in certain areas such as textures, atmospheres, and action pace. Funny enough, many people that have seen the film have described it as Fincherian (Finchery), whom is one of my favorite directors. I take this as an amazing flattering remark and assume much of my work is inspired by him.

What’s next?

I will be working with Dark Factory (the producers for “Reversal”) again, filming a feature film called “100 Cries of Horror”. As the title obviously states, this is a terror/thriller based film and is based in the 80s.

What cameras did you shoot on?

We shot the entire film with an Arri from Alexa.

Did you crowdfund?

The film was not crowdfunded. The budget was brought together through private capital, co-productions, and collaborations.

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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