‘Strange Darling’: Terrifying Cat-and-Mouse Game Unfolds in First Look at J.T. Mollner Horror-Thriller

The open road is a terrifying place for a young woman in the first look at “Strange Darling,” a horror-thriller from director J.T. Mollner set to premiere at this week’s Fantastic Fest.

Described as “one day in the twisted love life of a serial killer,” the project stars Willa Fitzgerald (Amazon’s “Reacher”) and Kyle Gallner (“Smile,” “Scream”). Fitzgerald, known only in the film as “The Lady,” barrels down a highway in a red Ford Pinto in a clip exclusive to Variety, escaping Gallner’s mad pursuit. After shooting out her back windshield and trying to mow her down with a pickup truck, the cat-and-mouse game moves on foot through the wilderness.

“This film was a sort of dream (or nightmare) that I was compelled to bring to life. So much about it – the colors, the music, the overall visual aesthetic, and the characters were all so clear before we even shot anything. I really just wanted it to be one hell of a ride,” Mollner told Variety. “We knew we would live or die with casting and it turns out, the performances are the pillars of this movie.”

Actor Giovanni Ribisi serves as director of photography and producer on the project. Miramax will distribute the film, with additional producers including Bill Block, Roy Lee, Steven Schneider and Chris Ivan Cevic. Executive producers includue Thom Zadra, Michael J. Zampino, Dan Lawler and Ezra Emanuel.

Mollner’s feature writer-director debut was the revisionist western “Outlaws and Angels”, which was selected for the Sundance Film Festival and shot on 35mm as part of his ongoing collaboration with Kodak Motion Picture Film. He became the first-ever recipient of the Kodak Auteur Award. “Strange Darling” is his follow-up and was completed this year. He’s also directed numerous award-winning short films, music videos and commercials (including spots for Monster Energy Drink and Lincoln).

Mollner is repped by UTA, World Builder Entertainment and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.

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