The new film The Accursed, which can now be streamed at home, really meets the old horror rule of thumb that there should be an interesting story even if the supernatural elements were removed. It is tale of literally buried secrets and the reverberations that carry forward to affect modern families.
Yancey Butler (Witchblade) is Hana, a woman overseeing the wedding of her son as she struggles to conceal a dark act from her past in Europe. She has to constantly suppress the completion of a curse. There’s almost a sense of magic realism to the tale.
The son, Petar (George Harrison Zanthis), is wedding Sunny, played by Izabela Vidovic, and viewers quickly learn Sunny is much more than a young bride just hoping to slip away on her honeymoon.
Izabela comes to The Accursed with a long list of credits on her resume including a stint as the younger version of Kara aka Supergirl on the CW series. She’s also appeared in iZombie and features including 2017’s Wonder.
Wicked Horror recently posed a few questions to Izabela about her role and whole The Accursed production.
Wicked Horror: Thanks for taking some time for Wicked Horror. Your character, Sunny, really possesses layers and secrets in a story of layers and secrets. It seems she’s an antagonist or catalyst but not really a villain. There’s a reason for what she does. Where did you begin your thinking in portraying her and her duality?
Izabela Vidovic: Sunny starts off with one motive, but everything falls apart when she falls in love with Petar. In that sense, it was really easy for me to connect to Sunny because she shows us that you can’t control the outcome of a situation when love comes into play.
WH: You’re a veteran of some horror and horror adjacent projects including iZombie. The Accursed has some eerie moments and an increasingly dark mood. Was it a unique horror experience?
Izabela Vidovic: I’m actually big fan of the horror genre, so getting to work on a horror film like The Accursed — one with a more classic, psychological twist — was a lot of fun for me. It was unique primarily because I am also a producer on it, so I felt attached to the project long before I even stepped foot on set as an actress.
WH: Did you think about the end effect on audiences as you worked with the magic effects and revealed Sunny’s goals?
Izabela Vidovic: I can’t say I did! I never go into a project thinking of how my character might affect audiences. I just focus on giving that character a voice and accurately telling her story.
WH: Were there any interesting moments in working with special effects and makeup? You’re given some nasty-looking wounds at one point, and wow, those creeping vines.
Izabela Vidovic: Well, a fun fact is that we didn’t have the look for our scary ghost, Aishe, until the day of filming… The look just came together on set, where our awesome makeup and SFX team presented the directors with something that finally felt perfect, and that’s what we rolled with! It’s was a true moment of movie magic!
WH: You share a last name with several people involved in this project, so this looks like a bit of a family story behind the camera as well as in front. Your mother, Elizabeta is co-director and co-writer. Who else was involved from your family?
Izabela Vidovic: Yes! My mom, Elizabeta Vidovic, co-directed/wrote the film with Kathryn Michelle. My father, Mario Vidovic, was also involved as a producer on the project. My mom and I have been working together for forever, but my family is tight knit — so we always end up getting involved in each other’s endeavors one way or another!
WH: So as a producer on The Accursed, what did your work involve? Was there a sense of shared vision? Is this a project you and your family had hoped to see come to life for some time?
Izabela Vidovic: Directors/writers Elizabeta Vidovic and Kathryn Michelle had the script for The Accursed tucked away in a drawer for some time. It took on many shapes and forms before becoming what you now see on the big screen! In 2017, the ladies took the script out of its drawer and decided to bring the film to life. So we launched an Indiegogo campaign for the film, which was when I came on as a producer. Since then, we got the rest of our funding and then went into pre-production in 2019. We shot the film that summer and then finished it in post-production over the pandemic! Having been a part of the project since its early stages and all the way through the end has made its release feel incredibly rewarding for all of us.
WH: You really have a powerhouse cast. Tell us about some of your key co-stars and what they brought to the project.
Every one of our cast members really brought something unique to their roles. Yancy Butler brought a strength and vulnerability to our protagonist, Hana, that really helped ground the story. Goran Visnjic’s Croatian roots gave him a deep understanding of the Eastern European-inspired world that the writers created in The Accursed. Melora Walters also brought great depth to her character Naida, really investing herself in the role and even learning how to read beans! Maiara Walsh and George H. Xanthis were also just so perfectly cast as these likable characters in a fantastical circumstance, as was Miraj Grbic who brought a beautiful levity that we all need in an otherwise heavy horror world.
WH: There’s magic integrated organically into the film’s world, but it’s a branch of magic we haven’t seen a great deal on film. Were there specifics from Central or Southern European folklore you were drawing from? Were there any old family folktales passed forward or regional legends that helped craft the world?
Izabela Vidovic: The writers, Elizabeta Vidovic and Kathryn Michelle, drew from a plethora of folklore. Elizabeta’s Bosnian/Croatian background did help inspire the music, food, fictitious language, and general traditions portrayed in the film, however it’s really not based in any specific culture. It’s like a melting pot of folklore and traditions from all over, and some completely original!
WH: What do you hope audiences will take away from the film and Sunny’s role?
I hope that audiences enjoy the ride and find themselves as surprised by the ending as I was…
WH: Thanks for your time. We wish you the best with The Accursed. Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about and want to mention?
Izabela Vidovic: Elizabeta Vidovic, Kathryn Michelle and I — the ladies behind The Accursed and Almost Normal Productions — are working on going into pre-production on the next one! It is a feature film titled Exist, and it’s just as wild of a ride… but this time around, it’s an action/horror in the vein of From Dusk Till Dawn.