Kentucky natives will recognize familiar landscapes in Richmond director Tory Jones’ newest movie “Angel,” premiering at the Lyric Theatre this Saturday night.
Described by Jones as a suspense thriller, the movie was shot entirely in Kentucky, in cities like Frankfort, Louisville and Nicholasville, plus Red River Gorge. Much of the movie is shot in the abandoned Old Crow Distillery in Frankfort, though the story is set in the fictional town of Raven Rock.
“Angel” follows the kidnapping of a young girl and the team of investigative journalists who are sent by her father into an abandoned town to find the truth. However, the town may not be as abandoned as first thought.
Jones said he pulled from personal fears for “Angel,” including the fear of harm coming to his children, and a fear of abandoned spaces. He compared the film to “Chernobyl Diaries” and “Silent Hill,” the 2006 film adaptation of the horror video game. He also cited American film director David Fincher’s movies as an inspiration for the tone of the thriller.
“How far will someone go to discover the truth?” he said. “What are the ramifications?”
“Angel” is Jones’ second movie, after 2017’s “The Wicked One,” a straight-to-DVD horror movie inspired by 1980s horror classics. Although Jones described horror as his favorite genre, he didn’t want to be typecast and so he went in a different direction for his second feature. His third movie, which he hopes to shoot almost entirely in Lexington next spring, will also be a suspense thriller.
The cast and crew is also mostly made up of Kentuckians. Jones, an Estill County native, said he worked with a tight network of filmmakers and other artists in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to produce the film while working at Baptist Health in Richmond.
“I have a lot of friends who can take nothing and make it something,” he said. “It’s not as easy as just getting a camera and going out.”
The movie also indirectly touches on current social issues like the treatment of actresses in Hollywood and women’s representation in media.
“It’s a sensitive time in the business in terms of females and women empowerment, and this is a movie about women,” Jones said, adding that women in the movie outnumber men three to one and make up many of the main characters.
Jones said he wanted to flip the typical script on victimized women by writing focused, competent female characters who overcome the odds.
If You Go
“Angel” world premiere
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, July 21
Where: Lyric Theatre, 300 E Third St
Tickets: $8, lexingtonlyric.tix.com