Ryan Larkin is a writer-director from NY. He began making films as an undergraduate at Cornell University in Ithaca, shooting short projects on DSLRs and 16mm. After graduation, Ryan moved to Los Angeles to complete an MFA degree at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television. He currently works as a social content producer for Netflix via Big Machine Productions.
In Ryan’s films, characters struggle to transcend the limits of their worldviews in small, intimate settings. These settings are typically realistic, but with one surreal twist that externalizes some flaw in the protagonist’s perspective. The intent behind this is twofold: Ryan wants viewers to empathize with his protagonist while confronting a visual metaphor for closed-mindedness. Phenomena that don’t match our existing beliefs are messy and uncomfortable, and our natural instinct as humans is to disregard or minimize them. In the worlds that Ryan creates, these phenomena are front and center: impossible to ignore.
Today I’m excited to share my new film CURIOSITY, a short horror film that incorporates imagery from the titular Mars rover. CURIOSITY applies my transgressive instincts as a filmmaker to a genre famous for exploring the repressed parts of the psyche. Horror movies make literal monsters of things that don’t fit the “normal” side of a binary, creating an existential threat that calls characters to action. Accordingly, the creatures you’ll meet in CURIOSITY are disruptive in formal and thematic ways. These creatures, called Martians, are invisible to the naked eye: they can only be seen in recorded images. However, recording the Martians gives them control over time and space, enabling them to travel through screens and attack their viewers. CURIOSITY thus inverts the typical power dynamic between See-er and Seen, stripping away the safety we expect while watching others on devices. It is a topical experiment at a time when more people are glued to screens than ever before.