“Hooked Up” had its first-ever showing at the Sitges International Film festival earlier this week.
“We finished filming just two weeks ago,” 26-year-old director Pablo Larcuen told Spanish daily 20minutos.
The prodigious filmmaker, who already won an award for best short film at Sitges 2012, had to ask his dad for money before beginning the innovative project.
“€14,200 may seem like a lot of money but in the movie business it’s nothing,” Larcuen explains.
“I’ll have to pay my dad back, but there’s no rush.”
Given the limited budget Larcuen and his team had at their disposal, they realized they’d have to use an alternative filming format.
“I looked into what genres worked well with unconventional filming formats and horror always seems to get good reviews from the public when filmed with an alternative camera,” Larcuen told El País.
“I’m actually not a horror film buff but it was a challenge I was willing to take on because we’d never done it before.”
Larcuen and his crew cut filming costs by shooting the entire 78 minutes that make up “Hooked Up” with three iPhones they already owned.
“iPhones aren’t designed to film long videos, that’s why we had to use three.
“Once you’ve been filming for more than a minute on one of them, the recording speed changes and the audio isn’t always synchronized.
“But bearing in mind most of the movie was filmed in the dark, the results are very good.”
As for the plot, Larcuen came up with the idea of an English-language horror film with American protagonists while on a visit to the States.
Hooked up tells the story of Tonio and Peter, two young Americans who travel to Barcelona to party and, above all, to score with women.
During their very first night out partying, they meet some girls that they go home with.
There, things will take an unexpected turn. With no possibility of escape, they must face their worst nightmares.
“Horror is a lot more popular in the US than it is in Spain and as for the location, Barcelona is a city many young Americans have visited.”
Larcuen shot most of the film in his grandparents’ home in the northern Spanish region of Navarra, another way of adapting to the film’s budget.
“It’s a house I know well, it always used to scare me as a kid.”