Jake Byrd on maternal spookfest ‘Adalynn’

Summer Hill Films LLC

Jacob ‘Jake’ Byrd’s visually stirring horror Adalynn is now out on digital platforms and DVD from Summer Hill Films, LLC. Byrd’s debut follows a mother fighting postpartum depression and slipping over the edge. It becomes hard to distinguish where depression ends, and her nightmares turn real, as she and her newborn are haunted by a stalker unlike any other. ‘Adalynn’ trades in a space between horror, fantasy, ghosts, demons, the Satanic occult and dreams.

What inspired this complex tale, sir?
This story was inspired by a friend’s confession that she had suffered from postpartum depression real badly. The depression was so overwhelming that it started to affect her everyday life. Her thoughts became very dark and oppressive. She started to believe that these feelings would never stop. As I started my research on the topic I discovered that a small percent of women go on and develop postpartum Psychosis (The murdering of their child.) Because we were trying to keep the script self contained I felt this story would work perfectly within that limit.

And when did you begin to put pen to paper on it?
We actually started to write the script at the end of 2020 and the script was finalized mid 2022.

Did the script change much over the course of development?
The script did go through some major changes during the course of development. We actually changed the ending in script after we finished principal photography because of an issue we had due to a budgetary restriction we had and we needed to address that issue so we added 4 more days of shooting to re-film some scenes so the ending would make sense.

Did the tone change much tonally over those drafts?
The tone didn’t change at all over the drafts. We always keep the tone very unsettling and uneasy. We always wanted the viewer to be in the same state of mind as the main character.

How long before production was Sydney cast?
Sydney was casted about 2 months before production had started. She was always in my top pick of all the actresses.

What was it about Sydney that worked for you?
Sydney fit the look that I had in my head for the character. When we held auditions she hit it out of the park. She brought this character to life. She was so prepared for this audition and was easy to give direction to.

Did you encourage her input; what did she bring to the character that wasn’t on the page?
Sydney was very encouraged to give her input on this character. Sydney was Adalynn.. She breathed and lived this character. Sydney stayed at the location we were filming at so she had the chance to step into Adalynn’s shoes and live in her world. Sydney is a hard worker when it comes to developing a character.

Did you set her to do any research?
Sydney was encouraged to research what women go through when experiencing postpartum depression. She was very excited to learn what these women experience to help make her character very believable.

It’s a scary film but it’s also grounded in reality. Was that important to you?
Yes, having the film grounded in reality was something the writer and I worked hard to maintain. Bringing real situations into a story makes it very relatable and that helps with what I like to say about my film is that “I don’t want to scare you, I want to scar you” I want these situations to stick to the viewer long after the film is over.

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