Among the new releases on international streaming platforms during Eit El-Fitr was Ahmed Adel Aqle's debut House of Setnakht, another attempt at the horror genre by an Egyptian producer.
The thriller, whose screenplay was written by Shady Elmosalamy and is based on Ayman El-Aidy's novel, has been trending in Egypt on the world’s leading streaming service Netflix, during the major Islamic holiday.
Compared to Hollywood’s big-budget productions, the House of Setnakht was a limited-budget project powered by the enthusiasm of its young cast and crew, as well as the talent of Aqle in his directorial debut.
"I'm very glad that my first feature film has the opportunity to screen on a mega platform like Netflix as well as on Amazon in the US and UK. I am happy it's gaining good attention, attracting more viewers everyday. It was among the trending films on the first day it was released on Netflix," Aqle told Ahram Online on Tuesday.
Egyptian director Ahmed Adel Aqle (Photo: Shimaa Abdelrehim)
After a building mysteriously collapses, the plot of 'House of Setnakht' follows the investigation of journalist Salma, portrayed by Jordanian actress Margo Haddad, alongside police officer Mourad, played by Egyptian actor and TV presenter Marwan Mosallam. Together, they face paranormal events that reveal unexpected secrets about the former residents of the haunted house.
"It is inaccurate to classify House of Setnakht as pure horror. It actually belongs to the thriller/drama genre with some horror flavours included. We usually hear very negative feedback about domestic thrillers. People used to laugh about it. Lately, they are having better commercial results. Production and distribution plays a big role and companies should invest more in such experiments. In our project, I am satisfied we reached industrial higher standards with minimum resources," Aqle explained.
The cast also includes Mostafa Abd El-Salam (Atef), Salma El Deeb (Sahar), Rania El-Khatib (Dalya), Abeer Eltoukhy (Fakhraya), Shiref Mabrouk (Shiekh Sobah), Nejar Mohamed (Habiba), and Elaf Mohamed (Salma's daughter), alongside others.
"The film gained international recognition without a box-office star. We spent over three years in preparation, shooting and post-production. The online streaming came a bit late. We hope it gets better results when screened on TV soon," the director explained while thanking his crew-members.
The Digital Eye film was produced by Mohamed Abdel Rahman and edited by Rania Elmontaser Bellah. It featured scores composed by Samy Said and sound mix by Darren Housam. The VFX design – which played a big role in the photography – was designed at Ahmed Taaeb’s Firefly Studio, under Art Direction of Mostafa Taaeb.
Aqle is currently preparing for his second thriller titled Déjà vu, whose screenplay he also wrote. He is also writing and directing a crime-mystery for TV, 13-Seen.
Despite its commercial appeal, House of Setnakht also took part in the official competition at the third edition of the Sharm El-Sheikh Asian Film Festival in March 2019 as well as the National Film Festival.
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