First-time filmmaker Jeremy Ungar wanted to make a ‘dark love letter to Los Angeles” in his new thriller ‘RIDE’...he succeeded
Starring Bella Thorne, Will Usher and Jessie T. Brill, ‘RIDE’ will make viewers terrified to order an Uber.
Theatre director and playwright Jeremy Ungar debuted his first feature film ‘RIDE’ in September at the LA Film Festival. With the theatrical and VoD release on October 5, MEAWW spoke exclusively to Ungar about his experience making this frightening yet all too real film.
Starring Bella Thorne, Will Usher and Jessie T. Brill, ‘RIDE’ follows a ride share driver (played by Usher) during a night in LA. What ends up starting off as a typical evening of work quickly turns into a psychological thriller after he picks up a passenger whose sociopathic tendencies turn into something far more sinister than anyone could have imagined.
The film is extremely self-contained having almost 90 per cent of the scenes shot in the car, which always makes for something that is either wildly entertaining or terribly boring. Let's just say that this film is not the latter.
“I love contained movies, and that’s probably because of my theatre background, but I also think that when you do a contained movie right it can almost feel more cinematic because you have to get really inventive. In movies like Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, it’s this beautiful stitched together series of takes where it feels like one shot and you kind of unblinkingly watch it like it’s a play. However in our case, we tried to get an esthetic that felt unique and felt varied, even though most of the time you are in a car,” Ungar told us.
Although most of the film takes place in the driver’s vehicle, you are still able to see and experience the city of Los Angeles in a way that's cinematically beautiful. After watching the film, it was clear that Ungar knew Los Angeles like the back of his hand, and in a way, had written a twisted love story to this unique city.
“I really love LA through and through. And I wanted to make kind of a dark love letter to Los Angeles, it’s the city I grew up in. LA is this amazing city of contradictions where it’s so easy to fall in love and then also to get totally disillusioned by.
"I wanted to structure the movie by what a night out in Los Angeles feels like. Whether its going to an iconic bar like No Vacancy, or singing in the car, or hitting the burger place up late at night or ending up in someone’s hot tub. Those were all key elements of nights out in Los Angeles I have experienced, and I felt like I wanted to turn those on their heads.”
All of the performances were great, however the performance that stood out the most was that of Bruno (Brill), the dangerous rider that takes his driver James (Usher) and love interest Jessica (Thorne) on the most treacherous ride of their lives. Believe it or not, Ungar had Brill in mind when writing the film, as they were friends in college and he knew the interesting nuances he would bring to the role. Ungar expanded on this and spoke on the kind of people and behaviors that truly inspired this wild and dangerous character.
“Will and I had gone to college together and have been close friends for many years. Will is not a sociopath, but he is the type of guy who when you hang out with him, just makes you feel kind of cool. And that was something that I thought was a real key into how Bruno manipulates people. He kind of makes them feel the way they want to feel about themselves. I think when someone is able to do that to people, they really let their guard down much quicker than they would otherwise. That was an idea that I was playing with and also just his pattern of speech that mirrors people I would hang out with growing up in LA."
The other standout performance was Thorne's, who seemed to bring a part of herself to the role of Jessica, a beautiful Angelino just looking for love and a good time. With a plethora of movies coming out this year, this is a tame part for Thorne, who has more recently played darker roles.
“I really had a great experience working with Bella. The moment we sat down together I could tell she was just such an authentic and shockingly candid person. It was kind of a dream come true as a director to sit down with someone who you instantly know is going to give you a lot of themselves. She had some of the character in herself and brought them together somewhere in the middle and thats what ended up on screen.”
‘RIDE’ is an edge of your seat thriller that will make you question every single ride share experience you have ever had. Go see it now in select theaters or on video on demand!