Moab, Utah | Film Feature

Comedy, Horror

Delicate Arch

1 Campaigns | California, United States

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This campaign raised $58,125 for pre-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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DELICATE ARCH is a film designed to be puzzled over, feared, and enjoyed. We sincerely believe there is strong cultural value to art that provokes metaphysical reflection, our film seeks to be in that vein. Four college kids with uneasy relationships go camping... and enter a new phase of reality.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Many thrillers flirt with themes of voyeurism, fracturing realities, and audience implication, though it is often abstracted, turned into metaphor, or obscured. DELICATE ARCH is more literal. We will use a unique, mixed-format approach to deliver a wholly original, entertaining horror film concept.

The Story

DELICATE ARCH is a weird and bloody horror movie. It's about four friends whose once tight-knit dynamic is now falling apart, due to petty jealousies and obsessive behavior. The dissolution of these relationships is mirrored in the characters' deteriorating confidence in their own agency and reality.

As they each begin to allow for the possibility they may be susceptible to fantastical threats, they unwittingly summon those threats into being, populating the Utah desert with an unmanageable cavalcade of zombies, aliens, apocalypse bikers, devil worshippers, masked slashers, and more.

But DELICATE ARCH has a lot more going on than just blood and guts. We feel that this is a unique story that will resonate with horror movie and general art house film audiences alike, simultaneously subverting and evolving the prevailing "elevated horror" movement of the past decade. We love a lot of those movies, sure. But it's time for something different.

This story is a nightmare-interpretation of a harrowing-but-ultimately-enlightening camping (and drug) trip our writer/director once experienced in the early 2000s.

In filming a short for film class at the University of Utah, dwarfed by the terrible beauty of Southern Utah, he wondered: What if by telescoping in to create this secondary layer of reality BELOW himself in the metaphysical foodchain, he was also telescoping out to create a layer ABOVE as well?

Our ultimate goal is for the film to be entered into the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" just like horror landmarks of yesteryear, including Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho.


Why us?

Aside from many aspects of this story being rooted in autobiography (either factual or imagined), the filmmakers have a deep love of the horror genre, spending years watching, making, and thinking about horror content.

Filmmaker Matt Warren's interest in horror isn't just as a fanboy, he has a sincere academic fascination with the genre and its mechanics. DELICATE ARCH is essentially a narrative video essay encompassing his final thoughts on horror and its moral, societal, and psychological implications.


Why this?

What if there was a horror movie whose conceit was that the audience watching it was, in real time, the monster menacing the unsuspecting characters? Or the ghost haunting the protagonists? The masked slasher? The deadly shark? The ill-intentioned alien interloper?

What if this idea was as literal as possible? What if there was a storytelling structure in a traditional film (not a gaming or VR project) that allowed the audience watching it to participate in the film as its primary antagonist? Many thrillers flirt with themes of audience implication as metaphor, but DELICATE ARCH will be attempting something entirely unique.


Why now?

We're at an unprecendented juncture in human history. Curating your own experience of "reality" is as easy as feeding a few simple search terms into the algorithm. At the same time, generations are being raised viewing the world through mediated smartphone windows -- their living environments a riotous collage of sound, image, and information.

We feel the themes of DELICATE ARCH are entirely contemporary and resonate without being scolding or didactic. We are here to observe and evolve, not critique.



Grant, Wilda, Cody, and Ferg are all college students in Salt Lake City. Grant and Cody are supposed to be best friends, but Grant -- a paranoid and spoiled film student -- suspects that Cody is secretly hooking up with Wilda, an ex-girlfriend he's struggling to remain amicable with. Their friend is Ferg, Wilda's nonbinary stoner cousin and an amateur student of Theosophy and Ritual Majick.

Fleeing an atmospheric disaster known as "The Inversion" in the Salt Lake Valley, the group decides to go camping in Southern Utah's Arches National Park. As Grant's obsessive voyeurism escalates on-site, the campers begin to sense a malevolent, yet imperceptible force encroaching on them.

Grant, Cody, Wilda, and Ferg attempt (badly) to keep themselves together as this cosmic force begins to manipulate reality around them, placing them in danger and resetting the rules of the game with capricious and fanciful bloodthirst. For fans of cosmic, experimental, and extreme horror.



The action of DELICATE ARCH occurs across three film formats and aspect ratios... Alpha, Beta, and Zeta.

THE ALPHA REALITY is our film's primary layer of reality. It will be a filmic look shot in a traditional 2.34:1 aspect ratio on the Sony FX9 camera with vintage Leica lenses from the 1970s for that authentic desert horror feel, light manipulation, and grain.

THE BETA REALITY is our film's secondary layer of reality. This will be a vintage VHS look shot in the Academy Ratio with a period-appropriate DVX100A mini-DV cam downgraded even further in post-production to resemble TV news footage from the 1990s.

THE ZETA REALITY is our film's third and final layer of reality. This will be modern smartphone footage shot on a iPhone 13 (or thereabouts) squeezed into a contemporary vertical 9:16 frame and mediated with several overlapping layers of AR filters to create a psychedelic effect.



GRANT (21) -- Hipster nerd, favors collard shirts and Clark Kent glasses. An indoor kid. A film student from a well-to-do Park City family who fancies himself the next Quentin Tarantino, or at least Rian Johnson. Tightly wound, his mind is always working too far forward, laterally, or inward. Never in the here and now.

CODY (21) -- Outdoorsy and tan. Considers Indiana Jones a realistic aspirational figure. Can be bullying and brusque, but cares about ecology and his friends, probably in that order. Alpha male energy with a whiff of wilderness guide. Has been Grant's best friend for years, but maybe they've finally outgrown each other.

WILDA (21) -- Messy-cute, hails from a lower-middle-class family, attending college on a volleyball scholarship. She's blonde, cool, talks a lot of shit. Is intrigued by influencer culture but isn't sure if she wants to be one or is just content to poke fun. Authentic, honest, and comfortable in her own skin.

FERG (19) -- Puppyish, they/them nonbinary skewing masculine/tranmasc. A tattooed community college townie. An amateur Theosophy scholar and would-be practitioner of ritual magic, if only they could find the time. A stoner-philosopher type way ahead on the stoner part.



The commercial prospects for this film are high. For the past decade, the "prestige horror" movement has combined sophisticated storytelling, arresting visuals, and name actors to create a festival-playing, award-winning, money-making roster of modern classics.

We are currently in pre-production on the film, strictly adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. We are in the process of casting currently and will be hiring key department heads over the next four weeks. Our primary locations are locked, as is lodging for cast and crew for the duration of the shoot.

Our goal will be to get the finished film into a major film festival. Out of a festival run, we hope for a profitable acquisition for theatrical and SVOD distribution by a major distributor or marquee streamer buyout. We anticipate an eventual awards run for this film among indie and genre-focused awards bodies.

If we meet our crowdfunding goal, we will pursue an additional $25,000 stretch goal to be applied toward post-production and festival submissions, publicity, marketing, and sales agent.



The entire script (copyrighted, WGA registered) is available for free download. Here's the cold open:



This campaign will provide critical production funding to help us execute our November 2022 shoot to its maximum potential. The closer we can get to our vision, the more impactful and unforgettable this film will be.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $500

Petty cash and a little extra cushion for anything that might pop up on set that's unexpected.

Office Supplies!

Costs $500

Keep us well-stocked in all the frustratingly essential items we all continually take for granted.

VHS Equipment!

Costs $500

Help us create the unique retro-video palette of our film with authentic vintage tech.

Blood and guts!

Costs $1,500

Blood and guts are the best and most expensive item on the horror filmmaker’s menu!

Special Effects!

Costs $1,500

Sophisticated visual effects created by computers to augment and embiggen our practical effects.


Costs $1,500

We have a lot of cool stuff we want to show you, but we need to do it all safely.


Costs $2,000

We small and scrappy, but we respect everyone's time and want to pay our extras a fair day rate.


Costs $2,000

Money can’t buy class, but any good costume designer knows it really can buy style.


Costs $2,000

Van rental and gas to get our players and various purposeless hangers-on to set each day.

Second Unit!

Costs $2,500

Arial drone photography and atmosphere shots of our primary location.


Costs $2,500

We really want to use this super-cool Leica lens package from the 1970s for our cinema look.


Costs $2,500

We'll be bringing in some (not all!) of our cast and crew in from Hollyweird to the Beehive State.


Costs $3,000

We have to feed the crew to keep them alive… Then again, we *are* going to need zombies. Hm.


Costs $3,000

Lodging for out-of-town cast and crew, and even for our SLC-based crew for our Moab dates.


Costs $8,500

We're hoping to rent the dynamic Sony FX9 cinema camera for the duration of our shoot. Main camera.


Costs $8,500

Really, movies are just as much about what you can *hear* as what you can see, no?


Costs $10,000

We're leaving the green screen at home and heading out into the field in beautiful Moab, UT.


Costs $20,000

We're casting professional performers at the SAG ULD (ultra low budget) level for all roles.

About This Team

Matt Warren (Writer, Director, Producer)

Matt Warren is a Utah-raised, LA-based writer, director, and producer with 10+ years pro experience creating narrative video content for the web. He has made numerous scripted and unscripted shorts and web series, and has worked as a screenwriter, film critic, entertainment journalist, humorist, blogger, editor, graphic designer, and videographer. Detail-oriented and well organized despite maintaining his offbeat sense of humor and profound love of discomforting weirdness, Matt has collaborated on web projects with talent including Michael Showalter, Matt Selman, Eric Kaplan, David Wain, Judah Friedlander, the Sklar Bros., Aubrey Plaza and more. He is currently the Senior Manager of Digital Content at Film Independent. DELICATE ARCH is his feature film debut as writer/director.


Rodney Ascher (Producer)

Rodney Ascher is a still-alive filmmaker best known for exploring the spaces between documentary, genre, experimental, essay and archival films. His work has screened at Sundance, Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight, the BFI and around the world. Notable projects include his first feature, ROOM 237 - an obsessive look at the Shining through the eyes of five very different people, THE NIGHTMARE which was called "The Scariest Movie of the decade” by Birth.Movies.Death (though that might be overstating it), and Primal Screen, a pilot for a documentary series about cathode-based traumas for the Shudder network. His most recent film A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX uses multiple styles of 3D animation to illustrate the experiences and philosophies of people who suspect the world itself is not quite real.


Larissa Beck (Producer)

Larissa is a Salt Lake City based producer with over a decade of experience in the film industry. She has produced a number of feature length films, commercials, and new media content. In 2017, she founded Lars in Jars Productions, a U.S. based company that specializes in production services. She has created content for NBC Universal, Disney, Bose, Coca Cola, Tax ACT, and various other brands. Her films include THE NAMELESS DAYS (premiered April 1st, 2022), THE SEEDING (in post-production), BEHIND YOU (2017), THE APPEARANCE (2018), and PAINTED (2022). In 2022, Larissa co-founded Sunset City Films, a Cape Town based production company specializing in education and content creation.


Josh Long (Producer, First A.D.)

Josh Long is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, where he’s worked as a 1st Assistant Director for over a decade. In addition to his work as an assistant director, he is the screenwriter of the films MAN CAMP and SOME OTHER GIRL. When he’s not making movies, Josh enjoys music, learning new languages, literature, and Ultimate Frisbee.


Aaron Nelson (Producer, Location Manager)

Aaron Nelson is a filmmaker from Salt Lake City, UT with 18 years in the entertainment industry. He has acquired experience in every department while learning all the ins and outs of film production, while going from intern to production assistant, to 2nd assistant director, to department head as location manager on multi-million dollar projects. A family man, he and his wife Molly have 3 children together; Gus, Oliver and Hugo. Aside from his passion for movies and filmmaking, he also loves Basketball, Dungeons & Dragons, and Comedy.


Kara Sullivan/KSC (Casting Director)

Kara Sullivan Casting, established in 2003, is an independent casting director. With a diverse range of clients from all over the world and an award-winning pedigree, KSC casts features, short films, commercials, new media projects, and voice over work. Some of her many film credits include Cuck with Sally Kirkland, SIx Feet with Raymond Cruz and Robert Palmer Watkins, Free Lunch Express with Eric Roberts and Kevin Sorbo, and Immigrant starring Harry Hamlin. KSC's webseries credits include multiple shorts for CryptTV, Award winning BET+ series The Rich and the Ruthless starring Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell, Love Work and Other Demons, coming soonThe Potwins with Barry Bostwick plus other legendary talent and Romancing the Joan starring the legendary Joan Rivers. In addition to her work as a professional casting director, Kara is privileged to work with the University of Southern California's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts as a casting advisor. She returned as casting professor for the USC/ShanghaiTech Directing Master Class, an exclusive professional program for a group of elite directors from China.


AMULETS/Randall Taylor (Composer)

Amulets is the solo project of Portland-based audio + visual artist Randall Taylor. Amulets employs handmade cassette tape loops and live processed guitar loops to create live, lush soundscapes and immersive drones. Through the recontextualisation of cassettes, sampling, field recording, and looping, these long-form compositions blur the genres of ambient, drone, noise, and electronic music.


MelodyGun Studios

Thomas Ouziel and Hamed Hokamzadeh founded MelodyGun in 2014 based on a passion for impactful storytelling, collaboration and a relentless eye for detail. Located in Hollywood, MelodyGun Sound Studios is an independent studio specializing in narrative sound editorial and mix with over 100 films to their name. You may recognize their work in films like Arctic (Mads Mikkelsen), In Dubious Battle (Selena Gomez, James Franco), Test Pattern (nominated Best First Feature @ Spirit Awards) and The Good Catholic (Danny Glover, John C. McGinley).


Ryan Self (Co-Producer)

Ryan Self is a writer and producer in Los Angeles, currently working in Development at Warner Bros TV. He proudly wrote on the final two seasons of The Tom & Jerry Show (Cartoon Network) and worked on Season 2 of The Flight Attendant (HBO Max). He also loves improv, frisbee, and board games... like... a lot. Probably too much.

Current Team