'Into the Dark' episode 6: Julianna Guill on 'Treehouse' being part of a broader conversation in the post #MeToo era
A modern-day twist to country getaways, and an equally burning contemporary issue, mingled with social satire; Into the Dark's 'Treehouse' packs it all
This article may contain some spoilers for 'Into the Dark: Treehouse'
Hulu's monthly horror anthology, 'Into the Dark' is back with its sixth installment, titled 'Treehouse' and this time, the monthly festival it revolves around is the sinister ides of March. As the belief goes, the date - March 15 - was marked by several religious observances, and was also significant among the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.
It gained major popularity from the Shakespearean play 'Julius Caesar' wherein the king was conspired against and murdered on the very day. And playing along the same lines, 'Treehouse' shows the tale of "celeb-chef, Peter Rake, who tries to escape a recent wave of negative tabloid exposure by retreating to his family’s vacation estate in the woods. But the ghosts of Peter’s past are everywhere and debts will be settled. Soon, he realizes that a woman’s place is anywhere that she chooses to be," according to the episode's official synopsis.
Starring Jimmi Simpson in the role of Peter, the episode is written and directed by actor James Roday, and also brags an ensemble cast including Mary McCormack, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Maggie Lawson, Stephanie Beatriz, Julianna Guill, Michael Weston, and several more.
Peter is obviously the quintessential Hollywood bad boy who thinks he gets a free pass when it comes to insulting others, because of his witty, charming facade. But, of course, karma makes its presence known once his "peaceful stay at the country home" proves to be interrupted by a group of women boarding a house nearby.
But while Peter's character is every bit as unnerving as the casual satirical twists we have seen in 'Into the Dark', it is, however, the character of Kara (Guill) that shines as the epitome of madness in the episode.
In an exclusive interview released by Blumhouse, Guill dug deeper into her character Kara - who happens to be one of the three women standing as jury, as Peter settles his debts incurred from past mistakes and passive crimes. These jurors are the same women who interrupt Peter's "peaceful stay" as he soon finds out they are here to seek vengeance for past crimes committed by either himself, or someone related to him. Referring to the same, Guill also offered us some insight into a memorable phrase from the episode: “We’re not angry b*****s; we’re angry witches!”
Speaking about what contributed to Kara becoming the person she is currently, Guill said her character is "a young woman who experienced a really enormous loss, and the loss was her older sister." The said sister, Agnes, had suffered abuse at the hands of Peter's father - thereby introducing an element of the #MeToo movement that has gained momentum over the last couple of years.
"In theory, you're supposed to know that your siblings are the longest relationship you're going to have in your lives, if you're lucky and that relationship was taken away from her. And so, she is in search of peace and closure for her sister," added Guill. "She's also a very strong and driven woman who brings this group of women together (the jury) to help them in their journeys but also to realize this dream she has for her sister."
The element of empowerment aside, there are other things that drew Guill to the character. "I really relate to Kara because I'm a younger sister myself and I have an older sister who I'm very close with, and as I thought about this role, I thought a lot about that relationship and that bond, and how there's really nothing like it," she explained.
"I thought about it being ripped away from me, which is a terrible process, but it's also very important for me as I thought about this role, and empathizing with her and her journey as a younger sister who watched her older sister go through so much torture. And there's really nothing worse than seeing someone you love, in pain. So, I was really drawn to her pain, and the way she ultimately sought peace for herself and how it came through camaraderie with a group of women who are all on their journeys, which I very much relate to."
As Kara's journey meanders through the plot, trying to achieve peace and closure over her sister's fate, Guill would, however, like to assure fans that this episodic film isn't the stereotype of its genre. And that's what keeps her eager "to see people's reactions once they are halfway through these films because there are lots of moments of misdirect, and mystery."
Guill reassures that in the end, 'Treehouse' "ends up being a genre film that is extremely funny. And it also has a message, and a lot of thrills. I hope people tune in for many reasons, not the least of which is that this is part of a broader conversation we are having right now, not only in Hollywood, and in the world, and we're trying to be a part of that conversation in a medium where we haven't seen a lot of films about this. So, I hope people tune in to experience a new way to have this conversation."
'Treehouse' aired March 1 on Hulu and is still available for streaming.