Director Damien LeVeck discusses the devil and the details on Screen Crusades

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on October 8, 2020

The filmmaker digs into the familiar tropes of demonic possession in cinema and how ‘The Cleansing Hour’ differentiates itself with realism.

The latest segment of Screen Crusades features a discussion with director of the Shudder original film The Cleansing Hour, Damien LeVeck.

Tapping to the background of the filmmaker, LeVeck discussed how from a very young age he was very cognizant of the professional path that he wanted to pursue. He recalls being all of 12 years old and knowing that he wanted to tell stories on film.

The passion would become especially real when he discovered his parents’ first Sony Hi-8 video camera. At the time, LeVeck was following in his father’s footsteps as a classically trained pianist but opted to forge ahead in film, once that camera began to steer his creative vision.

Cutting his teeth as an editor, LeVeck has an extensive background with a myriad of different genres of television. That kind of knowledge gave him a thorough understanding of how to take inventory of footage and really be concise in telling a story. Earning a reputation as a editor that worked swiftly and efficiently, that unique skill set would carry over in his career as a filmmaker moving forward.

As it pertains to Leveck’s work in The Cleansing Hour, that passion that resonated at such a young age still permeates throughout his creative process. From the onset of the production, LeVeck talked about approaching the film with the understanding that this needed a story that he would want to see. That sort of focus and direction in terms of the bigger picture, allowed LeVeck to lock in on the details of the film that ultimately make a good movie great.

That notion becomes particularly important in exploring a subgenre of horror that is so engrained in the lexicon. Demonic possession and the more sinister side of the supernatural is very familiar territory in the realm of horror – yet The Cleansing Hour manages to differentiate itself because of LeVeck’s respect for his audience and reverence for the medium.

Aiming to create a visual experience that translated in a way that something so unlikely could actually happen, LeVeck delved into the details like realistic effects, tasteful make-up, and even casting the daughter of the woman that voiced Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, to ensure that The Cleansing Hour looked, felt, and sounded nothing short of perfect.

The Cleansing Hour premieres today, October 8th, as part of Shudder‘s 61 Days of Halloween.

Watch the complete interview with Ryan J. Downey and director Damien LeVeck below.