Damsel sees Brown as a dutiful, well, damsel, who agrees to marry a handsome prince — only to discover it was all a trap: The royal family recruited her as a sacrifice to repay an ancient debt. She’s then thrown into a cave with a fire-breathing dragon, relying solely on her wits and will to survive.
As Elodie fights to survive alone in the bowels of the monster’s lair, she is the audience’s eyes and ears. “You feel that you are experiencing the journey of surviving and facing this creature with Elodie,” Fresnadillo says. “The emotional arc is so intense.”
Set to the strains of “Run from Me” by Timber Timbre, the teaser showcases Elodie’s seduction by the royal family — and the ensuing reality of her fairy-tale situation, as she struggles to survive in the depths of a cave. “For generations, it has been our task to protect our people,” Wright narrates. “So tonight, you join a long line of women who have helped to build this kingdom.” The sentiment’s true meaning is made clear by the accompanying image: Brown brushing her hand across the steep wall of the cave, where previous captives’ names have been carved into the surface.
It’s an ominous and touching moment, and one that captures the unique tone of the film. “It’s a thrilling adventure with a really dark twist to put you on the edge of your seat,” Fresnadillo says. “As a filmmaker, one of the things I always want to do is surprise the audience with a new take on a story. Especially this kind of [traditional story] — we have to modernize those tales with new takes, more modern and real ways, to connect with the audience.”
“We tried to make this as real as we can,” he adds. “It’s a fantasy, but grounded in reality.”
DIRECTOR: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
WRITER: Dan Mazeau
CO-PRODUCER: Emily Wolfe