Newly-released horror movie based in Whitby

A scene from horror movie Surprise! which was shot in Whitby.
A scene from horror movie Surprise! which was shot in Whitby.

After welcoming film crews from movies such as Dracula, Victoria and Oscar winner Phantom Thread, Whitby has been chosen once again as the set of a new production.

Independent anthology horror Surpise! was partially shot in the seaside town at the beginning of the summer.

Its cast includes British actor George Newton, well known for his role in This is England, and Joerg Stadler, who appeared in Saving Private Ryan.

Unlike most productions, the cast and crew at Surprise! did not get to film in their chosen location and ended up in Whitby almost by accident.

Director Dan McGee explained: “Originally we planned to do our filming at Danby Watermill, however, sadly the owner passed away a week before we were due to start filming so we had to come up with a different location and we thought of Whitby.

“It was a bit of a shame but eventually it turned out to be the best decision.

“The connections that Whitby has with the horror literature made it the perfect place for our film and I used to go camping there so I knew a lot of people that helped us in the process.”

Surprise! is a feature film in the style of Creepshow. It tells the story of a group of local writers who come together on Halloween to pitch stories to judges in the hope of winning a local competition.

The prologue of the movie was filmed in Whitby. The crew visited places such as the Endeavour pub, St Mary’s churchyard and the beach, which all contributed to the success of the film.

“We didn’t have any lighting so we used the cliffs to reflect the light and give it that professional look. When we filmed in the churchyard we wanted that shine that you get on the floor when it’s been raining and it started to rain just at the right time and it gave us that little flicker that we wanted.”

The production has received praise at its premiere in Manchester.

Dan added: “As an independent company we had a budget of £6,000 but everyone really liked it, the quality was higher than they expected.

“We’re now hoping to get some funding to screen the film in Whitby as well.”