Evan Cooper is poised to become a household name in the horror film genre with his upcoming project The Will O Wisp which will star This Is Us' Chrissy Metz. A writer and director from Canada, Cooper has been making quite a splash on the indie circuit with the award-winning short The Armoire, a noteworthy horror film about a fledgling actress alone in a new town with a very haunted piece of furniture. Check out The Armoire to see Cooper's indie origins in the video above.
The Armoire pushes boundaries and takes risks without ever venturing into gratuitous territory. A quick watch at only 14 minutes, The Armoire is a slow burn along the lines of instant horror classics The Witch or The Babadook. While the short gets into the spooky fun right away, big reveals and shocking moments take their time and are built up in a logical, thoughtful manner. The audience is given time to get to know protagonist Emma Brown in a way that feels natural without any forced exposition or obvious Hollywood tropes.
Cooper makes expert use of sound, often forgoing swelling music and high-pitched chords for silence and a supernatural calling card that could rival Freddy Krueger's finger knives' squeaking. In spite of its short runtime, The Armoire is a well-written, classically directed short filled with lots of tension and plenty of scares, minus the blood, gore, and jump scares that often seem to go hand-in-hand with the horror genre.
Before switching to directing, Cooper racked up several acting credits, including voice work as Buddy Blue in the animated series Rainbow Brite. The Armoire stars Hannah Barlow as Emma with a guest appearance by Cooper himself as Emma's friendly leasing agent. The horror short, which was also written by Cooper, has found much success in the indie film circuit, winning Best Film in multiple indie and horror film festivals and garnering attention from several others. Cooper's directorial debut has earned enough acclaim to land him his first feature-length directorial gig with The Will O Wisp.
The Will O Wisp tells the story of a recently divorced man and his dog as they are lured into the Montana woods by strange lights in the night. This seems to be based on actual mythological legends which tell of the Will-o'-the-wisp, or Will-o'-wisp, dancing lights that lure travelers away from safe paths, often to their deaths. Metz plays a nurse working at an assisted-living center who may have some dark secrets lurking in her past. The film will feature an other-worldly yet claustrophobic and paranoid atmosphere, as it has been described as a cross between M. Night Shyamalan's Signs and Stephen King's Misery. Despite the emotional fare fans are used to from Metz on the critically acclaimed This Is Us, The Will O Wisp will be a return to the actress' horror roots. Metz co-starred in Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story: Freakshow as Ima "Barbara" Wiggles before signing on to play This Is Us' Kate Pearson.