“RECOVERY DEFIES AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS…
STRONG PERFORMANCES AND LAYERED WRITING.”
BROODS WITH THE
BEST OF THEM.”
— AIN’T IT COOL NEWS
“RECOVERY IS RELENTLESS AND CHILLING…WITH A GREAT TWIST ENDING THAT LEFT ME SURPRISED.”
—THE BLOOD SHED
MORE ABOUT THE FILM
RECOVERY is the story of an Afghanistan veteran, haunted by her war, looking for her place in the world. RECOVERY is the story of a group of drug addicts trying to get well and finding their hard-won peace threatened by a murderer in their midst. Above all, RECOVERY is the story of people who, when faced with certain death, come together in order to save not just themselves, but save each other. Like soldiers in a war, they must put their differences aside for the sake of the survival of the group.
In this film, I decided to explore the darkness of addiction, the struggle to get clean and the veteran’s post-traumatic stress through the lens of horror, and put the audience in the head of a recovering addict who is in a fragile, delicate place and must face an enemy more real than her own demons. I also wanted to tackle the story of the opioid epidemic through a psychological thriller about a murderer rampaging through a drug...
rehab facility. Furthermore, I have always cared deeply about veteran’s issues. And thus, in making our main character a soldier returning from Afghanistan, I sought to examine PTSD and the experience of re-entering the civilian world after living a life of war for an extended period of time, through that character’s journey. These ideas may sound incompatible — a serial killer horror movie about real-world, third-rail political issues, but horror has always been the punk rock of the film world, the genre best suited for smuggling in messages to audiences in form and content far more palatable and entertaining than a straightforward story where the subtext would be made text.In making the film I was blessed with an incredible cast and crew of extremely talented collaborators, especially my lead actor Stephanie Pearson.
The character of Ronnie Price had lived in my mind for half a decade and so I knew exactly what I was looking for when it came time to cast her. When Stephanie auditioned I knew immediately that she was the first, the last, the ONLY choice for Ronnie. She had the perfect combination of strength and vulnerability and rage. Once I cast her, Stephanie and I worked closely together on developing her character. We had discussions about Ronnie’s backstory and her past, her time in Afghanistan and her homecoming back to America.
While only a fraction of this history actually is mentioned in the final film, the work that Stephanie and I did together in expanding and deepening her character paid off tremendously on the set. A kind of shorthand developed between the two of us on the set, and I never had to explicitly tell her what I wanted or needed in any given take. She could just intuit what I wanted and do it.
She is an incredibly gifted actor, and she took this character who had lived only on the page for years and brought her to life, making her richer and more complex in reality than I could have ever dreamed.This is one more deeply personal inspiration for the film – my mother, who struggled with opioid addiction for twenty years. While she eventually conquered her demons, because of my experiences with her, understanding addiction has always been important to me. As a genre filmmaker, finding the right framework to tackle big ideas has always been both a challenge and an opportunity. So, when my co-writer and I developed the script for RECOVERY, I knew that this story was the perfect vehicle through which to investigate the nature of addiction. It is our hope that you will find this story engrossing and compelling to watch on the big screen.
---John Liang, Director / Co-Writer