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Profile: Simon Hynd, director of horror thriller Senseless

Jason Behr plays US businessman who is kidnapped

Profile: Simon Hynd, director of horrific thriller Senseless, starring Jason Behr

Born 20 January, 1974, Edinburgh

Hynd studied Film & Television at Napier, making a few shorts that got him noticed by the Scottish film industry, going on to win a Scottish BAFTA for his short Tumshie Mcfadgen’s Bid for Ultimate Bliss.

What’s he up to now? His debut feature, the dark, horrific thriller Senseless, has been released on DVD. ‘It’s about a US businessman [Elliot Gast, played by Jason Behr] working in Europe who is kidnapped and held accountable for the sins of America. He has his five senses removed in quite cruel and brutal ways using household implements,’ explains Hynd. ‘It’s all about him coming to terms with some of the things he’s done wrong in his life and coming to terms with what life will be like after this experience.’

On making the leap to features ‘With each film I’ve got a bit more ambitious, and with Senseless being my first feature I wanted to keep it relatively simple and controllable. It’s very difficult for first-time directors to get a chance to stay in control of the material, so if that material can be brought in at a price that the producers think is less risky, they’ll leave you to your own devices.’

On going beyond horror ‘I always set out to make a film that had elements of the horror genre but was also dissecting it at the same time, asking people who watch films like Hostel and Saw why they take pleasure in that? It’s taking the conventions and twisting them.’

On Behr’s intense performance ‘He’d always been cast in pretty boy roles – he’d never really been given a proper three-dimensional character to get his teeth into. We basically locked him in a white room in Govan for four weeks and he starved himself, he hardly ate a thing for four weeks and you can see the difference, because we shot the film in continuity, you can see the physical deterioration of him. He really did put himself through the ringer for it.’

What’s next? TV work for the BBC while his next film project is an adaptation of Allan Guthrie’s Edinburgh-based heist story Two-Way Split, starring Kevin McKidd.

Senseless (Isis) is out now on DVD.

Senseless Trailer

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