As art imitates life, the Jamaican film industry has featured many movies tackling crime and the many societal problems, such as poverty, that have profoundly impacted the country. While his predecessors may have depicted the themes of rampant violence and crime on the big screen many times in the past, Rhett Butler hopes to turn those themes on their heads by incorporating them into the horror genre with his new film Nefarious.
The Jamaican-born, Canada-based creator first developed a fascination for cinema at a young age after watching a “making of” documentary for George Lucas’ Star Wars. Butler was not a horror enthusiast in his younger years but credited his mother, who introduced him to films such as the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, for his later admiration of the genre. After purchasing his first camera, the budding filmmaker would go on to shoot multiple small projects and write his first script, a vampiric period piece called Dark Lord, in 2013.
Butler began filming Nefarious in 2015 and shot the movie entirely on location in Jamaica. In addition to authoring the script and directing the film, Butler worked as the film’s editor, art director, cinematographer, and special effects supervisor. Starring Kevoy Williams, Ana-Stassia McLeish, and Allan Tennent, the movie finds the lead character Mark trying to navigate his life with his newfound love, Natasha, as her manipulative brother leads him down a road of violence and black magic. The film’s soundtrack will feature several musicians, among them dancehall artistes Tommy Lee Sparta, DeMarco, and Stacious.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Butler had hoped for a local premiere in 2019, but the film first premiered in Canada at the 15th annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival in 2020. The young director has since secured US distribution for Nefarious via Summerhill Films, and the film’s release through a streaming service is expected to be announced soon.
Watch the trailer for Nefarious below: