Actor Eoin Macken talks working on terrifying “The Cellar,” stepping onto the haunting set, acting aspirations

Noah Levine, Senior Film Columnist

After its initial premiere at Austin’s SXSW, the horror film “The Cellar” hits streaming service Shudder on April 15. The haunting tale, written and directed by Brendan Muldowney, chronicles the terror surrounding a family after their daughter mysteriously disappears while venturing into their new home’s cellar. On their quest to uncover the daughter’s whereabouts, the family slowly uncovers a grisly secret. 

The Daily Texan spoke with “The Cellar” star Eoin Macken (“The Hole in the Ground”) about his role in the film as Brian Woods, father to missing Ellie Woods (Abby Fitz). 

 

The Daily Texan: Is working in the horror genre something you’d like to continue doing? 

Eoin Macken: Yeah, it’s interesting. There’s a lot of really interesting stories that get told in (that) genre which is something I really enjoy. The stakes for the characters are always quite high, so there’s always a sort of energy to it. I grew up watching and reading horror and fantasy. It was always my vibe. 

 

DT: What were your film inspirations?

EM: Just watch (Brendan’s) short over and over again, “The Ten Steps.” There (weren’t any) particular movies he wanted us to watch. It was more about judging based off what Brendan and Tom (Comerford, cinematographer) wanted to create from an atmosphere point of view. We did talk about things as more slow burning, in your bones psychological type horror as opposed to being a jump scare situation. He also wanted to focus on relationships between the characters which is really important to give it that framework to build from. 

 

DT: Did you have a favorite memory or scene from working on the film? 

EM: I loved anything down in the cellar. The production designers who built that did this incredible job. When you’re filming in the cellar itself, it was awesome ‘cause it was super creepy … I enjoyed any of those moments going down those steps because it felt creepy.

 

DT: It definitely is really unsettling, especially when Ellie begins counting as she walks down the steps. 

EM: The counting is so freaky right? It’s also the fact that it just keeps going and you’re like, “Oh f–!” The counting opens that door literally to that supernatural world that can just suddenly open up beside you, and you can’t control it. That’s what’s terrifying about it. 

 

DT: What’s your actor process prior to shooting a heavy scene?

EM: The process for all of these scenes was helped by the fact (that) we were shooting at nighttime (and) the vibe Brendan creates on set. We’re in a COVID bubble, and we’re in this location for so long it lends itself to feeling like you’re a part of the character all the time. Generally, otherwise, I like to be on my own for a little bit. I don’t like to talk, just listen to music and find some quiet. When your thoughts are clear (and) when you go into these spots, you’re in an emotional place, where you can take (the performance) either way.

 

DT: Is there a dream role you would like to take on in the future?

EM: There’s an Irish mythological figure called Cú Chulainn which I know Jim Sheridan and Michael Fassbender have tried to make movies about, and I’m sure somebody eventually will. I actually played (Cú Chulainn) for a promo Gary Shore shot, and we thought we were going to make it into a movie. He went to make “Dracula Untold” instead. Playing Cú Chulainn even for that promo was the pinnacle.

 

DT: Maybe we can will it into existence with this interview. EM: You said it. I’m gonna will it into existence. I’m with you — let’s do it!