Kaitlyn Boyé, Laneikka Denne to lead Jack Dignan’s ‘Puzzle Box’

Kaitlyn Boyé and Laneikka Denne.

Writer/director Jack Dignan has begun filming his sophomore feature in Sydney, with Kaitlyn Boyé and Laneikka Denne leading the cast of found-footage indie horror Puzzle Box.

Produced with Repeater Productions, the story follows struggling drug addict, Kait (Boyé), and her younger sister, Olivia (Denne).

Running from a violent incident in her past and not wanting to go back to rehab, Kait flees to a remote house in the woods to self-rehabilitate, where Olivia joins her to document the process. However, they quickly find that the house isn’t what it seems and the internal layout is constantly changing, trapping them in an inescapable puzzle box. As they attempt to solve the mystery and find a way out, they discover there are far worse things in this house to be afraid of.

The cast also includes Cassandre Girard, Janelle McMenamin, and Matias Klaver.

Dignan is producing alongside Repeater’s Morgan Wright and also serves as editor, with the creative team rounded out by set designer Louie Henbest, sound designer Roy Serhan-Sharp, and hair and make-up artists Zoe Cooper and Andrea Valerie.

Production on the micro-budget feature will take place in North Sydney across the next nine days, with post-production to continue locally into the latter half of the year.

Dignan said a long-held desire to contribute to the found footage genre, combined with a need to find a project that could involve Wright and Boyé, had propelled Puzzle Box forward over the past 4-5 months.

“I was a Tropfest finalist for a found footage horror parody about ten years ago, but I didn’t think I’d go back to it because the genre died off for a long time.

“The resurgence in the past couple of years had me thinking, ‘If I was to do one, how would I approach it?’

“I wrote the film for our lead actress, Kaitlyn Boyé, because I knew her and I wanted to write a film to make with her and Morgan. It all sort of came together at the right time and it’s been a good creative process with the three of us.”

The production comes 12 months after Dignan completed his debut film, After She Died, also produced in Sydney.

Made for about $100,000, the indie horror was released in the US last year via Good Deed Entertainment and is now available on VOD and DVD/Blu-Ray, as well as being streamed on Tubi in selected countries.

While a distributor is yet to be confirmed for his second feature, Dignan said the global journey of After She Died, which included a Best Feature win at the Cuzco Underground Film Festival in Peru, had meant “more people were listening” when it came to Puzzle Box, despite it being made on an even smaller budget.

“It’s less of a favour-pulling film and more of an actual paid job for people, which is wonderful,” he said.

Dignan and Wright are hoping to continue their momentum post-Puzzle Box with another horror feature already in development.

The writer/director said he was aiming to go straight into pre-production on the film, titled Rainbow Connection, following the completion of his second film in order to “keep the ball rolling”.