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The Reeds: Norfolk horror film is released in America
Actress Emma Catherwood and Will Mellor in The Reeds
The cast hope that if the film does well in America it will be given a UK release

A film set and shot on the Norfolk Broads has been released in the USA during January 2010.

The Reeds, starring former Hollyoaks actor Will Mellor, is a horror film following the exploits of a group of young Londoners holidaying in Norfolk.

"The film will keep you guessing all the way through. It's not just a jump-fest, it'll keep you watching until the end," said Will.

The film was released in America during January 2010 at Horrorfest 4.

In the film, which was shot in and around Hickling, a group of six friends hire a boat and go out on the Broads.

After losing their bearings and running aground, the group come up against a mixture of unfriendly natives and end up being hunted by a hooded man with a gun.


Anna Brewster, who appeared alongside Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson, found that filming it on location helped create the right atmosphere.

"We actually filmed it in the reeds - it was quite intense at times. It's a very eerie landscape because they're so tall and they literally do surround you," said Anna.

"I thought it was stunning. It kind of reminded me of images of deep south America, completely flat.

Scarlett Johnson in The Reeds
The Reeds used Norfolk residents as extras in some scenes

"I remember when we first got there we got off the train and got in a car and it was so eerie, this stagnant fog on the landscape. It set the mood for the whole film," she added

Director Nick Cohen agrees that a film set is no substitute for Norfolk's landscape.

"We made a decision not to film in a studio - even though it would have been a lot easier and a lot more comfortable - but to film on location," he said.

"There's nothing to compare with it in terms of what you can see - the horizons, the landscape and the atmosphere of the environment," he added.

Tough terrain

Having a film that looks beautiful doesn't come without its price, as the crew discovered.

"It's very, very tough terrain to work in. People fell down mud holes and generators blew up," said Nick.

"Stuntmen got concussed because you can't tell what's water and what's land and you don't know where you're going to fall," he added.

While it may not be convenient, it's another reason why shooting on location was beneficial to the final outcome.

"As a director I love all that because once the cast are all freezing, terrified and wounded, then they don't really have to act so much!" said Nick.

Local extras

As well as taking advantage of the scenery, the film was also able to rely on a host of resident extras to build the atmosphere.

Hickling Broad from the air (photo by Mike Page)
The reeds of Hickling Broad created a suitably spooky atmosphere

"We got a lot of locals involved, not just as extras. We cast a whole gang of locals as a key role in the film," said Nick.

"We'd done some auditions in London looking for that gang but nobody had the same look and feel as the kids that we actually found up in Norfolk.

"They were brilliant, they completely went for it and they were willing to do whatever was asked of them. They were more committed than most professional actors that I work with."

US release

The film, which was part funded by Screen East and the UK Film Council, has been chosen to feature in After Dark Horrorfest 4, an annual festival of horror films that takes place in America.

Nick hopes that featuring in the festival will raise people's awareness of the film in the UK.

"We are the only British film to have been selected for this American release which is a real honour and will certainly give everything a boost in Europe," he said.

The Reeds wasreleased in America as part of Horrorfest 4, a festival for horror films, in January 2010.

The producers hope that if it is received well it will be aired at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2010 and go on general release in Europe.

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