Riker Lynch is a man of many talents—actor, frontman of Riker and the Beachcombers, bassist for The Driver Era, Dancing with the Stars runner-up. But audiences will be seeing a different side of him in Terror Eyes, his latest movie. The film follows three friends on their way to a music festival, who may not make it there once they discover that they’re being targeted by someone who posts violent crimes online.
In our interview, Riker discussed the unique shooting experience on Terror Eyes, the chance to work with his friend Ayla Kell, and the strangest thing that’s ever happened to him at a music festival. Check out what he had to say before you find the film on your favorite digital platform!
Brittany Frederick: What made Terror Eyes interesting to you initially?
Riker Lynch: When I first read the script, I really liked the fact that it was sort of a new take on the “found footage” genre. The fact that I would be operating the camera for some of the film was an extra challenge that sounded like a fun experience.
BF: You’ve known Ayla before you two co-starred in this film. How does it change your performance to work with someone that you already know, especially in a thriller like Terror Eyes where characters are kind of stuck with each other?
RL: We have the same agent, so we had met a few times before making this film. I think it just makes the downtime on set more fun because you can hang out and be friends, and then it makes the set more comfortable working with each other, especially in the more intense and emotional scenes.
BF: Horror films are known for oftentimes stereotypical characters. What did you find in your character to keep Danny from feeling like a generic protagonist?
RL: I felt like my character Danny had some more flaws and things he needed to figure out as a human. That was interesting to me, and the fact that he’s got some dark demons he needs to deal with. For me, it’s all about the story. How can I just help tell the story and move the story along? That’s really what my job comes down to.
BF: He’s a different character than a lot of what we’ve seen you play, so was that also part of the appeal? How was it to take on a role that audiences might not expect?
RL: At this point in my career, I just want to work. I really love working and making films and television. So this being something different, that was definitely an exciting challenge but it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. When we started filming I had just finished filming a high school comedy film, so going from “comedy party mode” to having much more serious and intense scenes was maybe a bit of whiplash, so to speak—but at the end of the day, any day acting and performing is a great day.
BF: Terror Eyes is shot a bit differently from other films, because of the “found footage” style and a few other things. What was it like just to make the movie?
RL: It was so different. The whole online video thing was new. That wasn’t in the script. It’s pretty wild how you can shoot something and think one thing, and then see the final cut and it’s literally so different. Major props to the director and editors thoughm for sticking with it and making it happen. Also, we shot this a long time ago—like five or six years ago, I think—so I kind of didn’t remember too much before I watched it. (laughs)
BF: Do you have a favorite memory from the set?
RL: One moment that comes to mind, and it’s probably a “you had to be there” moment, but we were shooting in the hotel, and it’s a 360-degree setup. Because of the blocking, you see the whole room in the camera—so it’s not like you can have audio and lighting on one side of the room. Everyone has to be hidden.
Most of the crew are in another hotel room across the hall, but audio has to pick up the sound, so Taylor, our audio engineer, has to be in the room somewhere. He decides to crawl into the bathtub, and as we’re getting ready for a take, the director says “Okay, everybody set?” And we just hear “I’m in the tub!” from Taylor in the bathroom! For some reason, it was the funniest thing to me. I still laugh about it to this day.
BF: Terror Eyes starts with your character on the way to a music festival, which you’ve played a few of in your career. What was your most surprising or interesting festival experience?
RL: The most shocked and terrified I’ve ever been was at Made In America in Philadelphia. I’m playing bass for The Driver Era and during the third song, I run forward and step right on a laminated sign on the ground, and it’s not taped to the stage. And it’s slick! So I slip and basically almost fall off the stage and if I did, I would’ve fallen like 10 or 12 feet and landed on all of Zedd’s pyro equipment. Kinda close to a bad injury, but so funny in retrospect.
Terror Eyes is now available on digital movie platforms everywhere.
Article content is (c)2020-2023 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr and on Instagram at @BFTVGram.