Of all the nightmarish film premises, Hardcore Henry might just be the most terrifying yet—because you are the main character.
Imagine waking up in a strange hospital with no memory of who you are or what happened to you. Your wife claims she's just brought you back from the dead. Now you're supersonic. Five minutes later, you're being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and it turns out everyone wants you dead. You have no choice but to tear through the streets of an unfamiliar city, unsure of who to trust, where to go, and just how (or why) to fight back.
Ilya Naishuller's action-adventure has been shot from a thrilling first-person perspective, taking the form of a veritable video game. But unlike a game, you, the main character, have no free will. With no game options, your agency has been stripped from you. You're along for the ride—kicking, punching, shooting, and blowing stuff up along the way.
To achieve the effect of placing the viewer in the protagonist role, the film was shot on two GoPro Hero 3 cameras with a custom-made rig, dubbed the "Adventure Mask" (and available for pre-order) pictured below. The Hardcore Henry crew built and destroyed more than 30 prototypes, tried all the existing types of plastic, and made hundreds of changes to the design during the production process.
The rig is comprised of a 3-axis Gimbal mount with a built-in stabilization system.
Naishuller initially raised funds on Indiegogo, selling the film as the "first-ever action POV feature film." He raised $250,000 in December of 2014. After it made a splash at the the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, STX Entertainment picked up Hardcore Henry for $10 million.
Hardcore Henry screens at SXSW this week and opens in theaters on April 8.
No Film School's coverage of the 2016 SXSW Film Festival is sponsored by SongFreedom.