VOD Spotlight: “Legion” imagines the Apocalypse

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Legion is a terrifying vision of the Apocalypse from writer/director Scott Stewart (Priest). As mankind destroys itself in a savage fury, a small group of peple trapped on the edge of nowhere prepare to make a last stand, with the help of a mysterious and powerful stranger. Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki and Kate Walsh star.

Stewart’s rewrite of the original script takes a “less is more” approach to the horror elements. “The original was a more explicit, ‘we’re going to show you everything,’ way of telling the story, as opposed to, ‘we’re going to keep you in the dark for a while,'” he says. “Darkness is the scariest thing. The anticipation of the scare is better than the scare itself. You want to tighten the screws all the time as a filmmaker and ratchet up the tension.

“My favorite scary movies are the ones that take their time to let things evolve, so you get invested in the characters and what they’re going through,” he continues. “Then you can really deliver the goods.”

While working on the story, Stewart kept what he calls “the concept of the uncanny” in mind at all times. “It comes from Freud originally,” he says. “He was defining the difference between the fantastic and the scary. A dragon is fantastic. Dad standing in the middle of the kitchen with an axe is scary. Something familiar put in a context that makes no sense to us emotionally or logically is deeply unsettling. That’s the core conceit of Legion.”

The filmmakers saw the apocalyptic setting of Legion as an opportunity to explore larger themes within an action-horror film. While the film is not religious in nature, it does use elements of familiar narratives to tell its tale. “Whether you grew up in a religious home or not, we live in a society that has religion at its core,” Stewart points out. “The movie isn’t attempting to say anything about particular beliefs. It is about the idea of faith, using things that are familiar to us from Judeo-Christian ideology as a way to tell the story. No matter what your bent is philosophically, you can bring that to this movie.”

If it seems provocative, that’s what Stewart intends. “The film pushes buttons and it’s meant to push buttons,” he says. “I hope it’s somewhat controversial. In the end, it’s meant to be entertaining, but I hope it’s thought provoking as well. That’s what takes it out of the realm of the standard thriller.”

“Legion” is now playing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.

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