Game of Thrones and Hellboy (2019) director Neil Marshall returns to the out-and-out horror territory of his 2002 debut Dog Soldiers and his 2005 genre classic The Descent with The Lair (out Oct. 28). Set in Afghanistan, 2017, the movie stars Charlotte Kirk as an RAF pilot whose troubles begin when she is shot down by insurgents.
"It's about a bunch of soldiers and a downed pilot in Afghanistan who stumble upon an old Russian black site and unleash some scientific experiment that's been lurking there for quite a while," says the British filmmaker. "And all hell breaks loose."
RLJE Films Charlotte Kirk in The Lair
The director came up with the initial idea for the film after the start of the pandemic.
"A friend of mine suggested if we could write something really cheap and low budget that we could go and make a little movie in the desert outside of LA," says Marshall, who co-wrote The Lair with Kirk. "That fell through, but the idea of doing something in the desert during COVID was, like, well, maybe that would make it easier if it's out in the open, hot weather, minimal cast, minimal locations. Somehow or other it ended up being in Afghanistan with Russian bunkers and monsters. I just have this inability to write a low-budget script and stick to it. It invariably gets way more ambitious. I guess that's just in my nature."
The director wound up making the movie in Budapest with a cast that also included Jamie Bamber and Jonathan Howard.
"The shoot was tough," says Marshall. "We ended up shooting in these quarries. It was in the height of summer and it was 40-degree heat centigrade. Very humid, very hot, very dusty. So it was kind of grueling at times. And working with creatures brings its own set of problems when you're doing practical effects, but that is the first port of call for me, to do creatures practically as much as possible and then enhance them through CG."
RLJE Films Poster for The Lair
Marshall's efforts paid off when the film premiered at London's FrightFest in August.
"Oh, it was great," says the director. "It had been a long time since I'd been there, so it was a real joy to be back and to have the privilege of opening the festival with this one. My whole idea for this movie was for it to be a festival crowd-pleaser, a big gory action spectacular, and it worked a treat."
The Lair will be released by RLJE Films in theaters, on demand, and digital Oct. 28. The film will screen on Shudder in early 2023.
Exclusively watch the trailer for The Lair below and see the movie's poster above.
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