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It’s Just A Game

Directed by Daniel Emery Taylor
Narrative Feature
USA | 82 min | 2018

Brianna (Hannah Cohen-Lawlor) is a shy, bashful teen who is constantly getting humiliated by the other girls in her social circle. Her circumstances change when she is kidnapped by a bizarre theatre cult intent on summoning an ancient witch.

From the mind of Daniel Emery Taylor, an actor best known for THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING and a writer/director best known for THE HOSPITAL and CAMP MASSACRE, comes a twisted tale of teenage bullying, jealousy, angst, and a bizarre theatre cult intent on summoning the spirit of an ancient witch. Taylor’s solo directorial debut, IT’S JUST A GAME is an ethereal, haunting psychological thriller with a Giallo sensibility. A tale that is as fresh as it is indescribable. Taylor promises a change of direction from his previous work. “I wanted to present something that nobody else could: something born solely in my mind. Sure, you can see my influences – you can see the Argento, the Refn, the Raimi, the Hitchcock – but I am pleased that what I have is uniquely Daniel Emery Taylor.”

IT’S JUST A GAME reunites Taylor with some of his frequent collaborators: producer James Azrael, director of photography Bill Schweikert, and sound mixer Daniel L. Bamberg. “Aside from the friendships I have with these great people, they work hard and do exemplary work. You really couldn’t ask for better people to have your back.” Helming the post-production team is editor Daniel J. Pico (CABIN FEVER: PATIENT ZERO, FAREWELL DARKNESS). “This is my first time working with Daniel and I am absolutely astonished at his artistry. You often think of editing as being very technical but his vision is every bit as big of a part of this as James and mine are.” Taylor also brings back actors G Larry Butler and Alicia Clark, both of whom had turns in THE HOSPITAL and CAMP MASSACRE. “They’re phenomenal. I didn’t want to do this without having them both involved.”
He seems most excited when talking about some of the new talent he worked with. “Hannah Cohen-Lawlor is the star of this film – in more ways than one. A prodigious performance. One day she will be a star and I will take full credit for discovering her, haha. Rachel Fiona Marshall as Skullgirl absolutely shines and stands to join the echelon of great horror character actors. Leah Hudspeth was recommended to me by most everyone I knew and I couldn’t be happier that I cast her. The performances that she and Alex Zuko give is electric. They have tremendous chemistry. They’re sexy, funny, and scary … pretty much everything you want in this kind of project.”

It's Just a Game - Poster

It's Just a Game - Daniel Emery TaylorDaniel Emery Taylor

Daniel Emery Taylor got his first taste of movie magic at the age of eight as an actor when he landed the role “Darryl” in the campy 80’s cult favorite THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING. Film entranced him and he was unable to walk away. Years later, Taylor found himself unhappy with what he saw coming out of the independent film scene and decided to write and direct his own feature film, THE HOSPITAL, a relentless, brutal tale of terror. This was followed up with the features CAMP MASSACRE, a horror comedy, and THE HOSPITAL 2. In 2016, Taylor launched his own production company, Debtor Entertainment. IT’S JUST A GAME is its inaugural film.

Film Information

Director: Daniel Emery Taylor
Country: USA
Year: 2018
Language: English
Runtime: 82 min.
Rated: MA


Writer: Daniel Emery Taylor
Producer: James Azrael, Amanda Strickland
Cinematography: William Schweikert
Sound Design: Matthew Festler
Editor: Daniel J. Pico

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Principal Cast

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival