Tag Archives: mystery

Meet the Suspects of After Nightfall: Leanne

Continuing our Season 2 Q&A with the cast is Chantel Leseberg as Leanne French, another prime suspect.

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After Nightfall is a huge ensemble cast of interesting and complex characters. Tell us about your character and role in the series and how they fit into the story.
Leanne is the girlfriend of Dave – local crime boss and Troy McLeavey’s uncle. We see early in season one that Leanne is having a secret affair with Ryan, one of Dave’s most trusted gang members. It’s this secrecy that seems to have led many of our audience members to look to Leanne as one of the main suspects in Troy’s death. Leanne and Ryan get caught out towards the end of season one and Leanne spends season two trying to gain Dave’s trust back. Still, the question remains from our season two finale – who will Leanne choose?

How did you become involved with After Nightfall and what made you want to be part of it?
At the time Wayne was writing After Nightfall, we were performing together in an early childhood theatre show for Em’s Entertainment. Wayne offered me the role of Leanne and I jumped at it. I’d previously had the privilege of working with Wayne in his play The Girlie Show and I knew from his talent, dedication and wicked sense of humour that After Nightfall was going to be one hell of a ride.

What made you get into acting?
I’ve always enjoyed performing. It’s my happy place. I can be quite introverted at times but I also have a lot of creative energy, and in the words of Jill Morrison from Mean Girls: “I just have a lot of feelings”.  Performing lets me explore all the different parts that make me who I am, and to experience the thoughts and feelings of someone else. It’s a real gift we’re given to be able to share that.

What is your favourite memory on set?
Every moment on set was brilliant. The cast and crew got along so well, and we genuinely just had a lot of fun. Plus – Wayne is an incredible baker so there was always that to look forward to.

Were you shocked by the killer’s reveal in Season 2?
Yes! Back in season one I recall thinking…”you know…maybe the Mum killed Troy” and immediately dismissing that as an idea. I’d actually prepared myself in the very last episode to find out that Leanne was the culprit. Props to Wayne. There were a few red herrings thrown in particularly in the lead up to the finale so I was genuinely surprised.

What do you love most about the role you played?
I really loved getting to know Leanne. There was a pretty big shift for her from season one to season two and despite her actions she really does love her man. I enjoy seeing the journey characters go on and for Leanne there really is so much more than meets the eye. To be always developing and learning about your character like that is really exciting.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned or taken away from this project, either personally or professionally?
To turn up on set and just work and have fun with like-minded creatives is a real joy. I think working on After Nightfall was also a valuable reminder that if you find yourself with an idea and you have that creative itch – scratch it! There’s nothing stopping you from getting out there and creating your own work.

What’s next for you?
First things first – get through year one of my uni degree. Then I’m keen to take time to do some writing, get back into my music (shake all that dust off my keyboard first), and just enjoy the sunshine really!

Click here to watch After Nightfall

Meet the Suspects of After Nightfall: Oscar

With Season 2 of After Nightfall done and Troy’s killer revealed, let’s get to know the people behind the characters we loved and hated. First up, we have Jace Pickard who played Oscar, the prime suspect for many viewers.

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After Nightfall is a huge ensemble cast of interesting and complex characters. Tell us about your character and how they fit into the story.
I play Oscar, the predatory book shop owner who becomes a major suspect in the Troy McLeavey murder.

How did you become involved with After Nightfall and what made you want to be part of it?
Wayne and I have been friends for years and I believe this role was written with me already in mind. I have worked with Wayne on a number of projects and I absolutely love his writing and the characters he creates. I will always jump on a Wayne Tunks project.

What made you get into acting?
I have always had a passion for film and wanting to play roles that are opposite to my personality. I did drama in year 11 and from there, I knew I wanted to continue this as a career. It became more real when I was accepted into Screenwise, (an acting school) and made the move to Sydney.

What is your favourite memory from the set?
I think it would have to be the Season 1 finale when I push Faye. I was incredibly nervous to do that scene because Emma was actually pregnant, but we were very careful with the blocking. It was just a great scene to work with and I absolutely adore Emma. We play such flawed characters and it was just so much fun to work off one another. It’s also a great memory because after shooting that scene, I left the set to go and have a first date with my now partner and we celebrated our two years last month.

Were you shocked by the killer’s reveal in Season 2?
I honestly thought it was Leanne for so long but it became clearer as we went along with Season 2 that it HAD to be someone that was not on our radar. I was so impressed with Jacinta and her performance. And the scene with her, Wayne and Nick was just heartbreaking. I loved it! I texted her as soon as I found out and was like Good work on killing Troy.

What do you love most about the role you played?
Oscar was such an interesting character to portray because technically he wasn’t doing anything entirely illegal. He was obsessed with younger men, but he would wait until they turned 18 before he pounced. It’s like he had those rules in place but he was definitely a predator and I’d think he would bend those rules eventually. If I was to love anything about Oscar, it would probably be his confidence. I don’t know why he thought he would never get caught. His demons definitely caught up with him in the end.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned or taken away from this project, either personally or professionally?
I love this cast and crew. A lot of us have worked together on various projects and if I have taken anything from this experience, it is that this won’t be the last time I’ll work with this group of people. If we could do something American Horror Story style and do different stories,  I would sign on every year. We all get along and I believe we do great work together. We got to keep doing it! I can’t deny or confirm if Oscar is alive but we shall see (if a season 3 is announced) if we have seen the last of the creepy bookshop owner 😉

What’s next for you?
I am about to go on a film tour as I am releasing my feature film Fragmentary this month. We have our Sydney Premiere on the 21st October at Dendy Opera Quays and then we have screenings throughout Australia where I’ll be doing Q&As. And you will find some After Nightfall alumni in the film 😉

Click here to watch After Nightfall

After Nightfall Season 2, Episode 8

Sometimes, words are not enough. And this is most definitely one of those times. Because I’m so genuinely shocked at the things that went down in the Season 2 finale, that this is probably the most difficult review I’ve had to write for After Nightfall. In a good way. Because while a lot of questions are answered, many are not and a number of storylines take new directions. There’s a lot to talk about, both what happens in Episode 8 and what could possibly be next for After Nightfall.

Do I even need to warn you about the earth-shattering spoilers that lie beneath? Well, if I do, then you probably deserve to be spoiled. So here we go.

We open exactly where we left off. Colin knows who killed Troy and he’s off to confront them. But the answer isn’t revealed then. Colin only says to Viv “Don’t worry Mum, I’ll get her,” Instantly, we know the killer is female, and the answer is revealed in small increments, like a good murder mystery does. Really, After Nightfall is very similar to Broadchurch in a lot of ways, and I would never say that lightly.

At the police station, Zara is having a serious conversation with an unknown person over the phone. She’s got the McLeavey file out, and all of Colin’s siblings are there. Including Kate, who we know is dead. Zara tells whoever she’s talking to that while she couldn’t charge Colin with murdering Troy, she’s about to “apply some major pressure on the McLeaveys” and says something called Operation Permeate is on.
What do we learn from this scene? One, Zara isn’t working alone. Two, there’s a lot more to the McLeavey family than we’ve seen, although we know the family is full of criminals. Colin’s father is behind bars, and let’s not forget Quintin and Dave. So there’s a major plot point for Season 3, should that happen.

Just for a change, Angela’s wasted and has gone to seduce her ex-husband, who is sympathetic, but he’s also in a new relationship. There’s a lot more to these two. I just know it. Something else that could be explored in Season 3.

The next scene hit me right in the childhood (proudly raised by a single Mum!). Hayden’s come home and Margie’s lost her job. She wasn’t making ends meet as it was. Could this lead Hayden to take desperate measures? Speaking of which, where’s his Dad, anyway?

Meanwhile, Isobel is taking her criminal activities to a whole new level. Now that she can’t steal from Uncle Dave, she’s now selling stolen school tests to fellow students. This girl could give Don Corleone a run for his money. Good grief.

On the other side of town, one of my theories is confirmed, as Kobie shows up to Wesley’s house in the middle of the night. Kobie was indeed the reason for Wesley’s injuries. Apparently after Troy caught them together, Kobie took his temper out on Wes. Now, Kobie wants Wes to escape with him, because he may or may not have killed Oscar. I repeat, if a character doesn’t die on screen, they aren’t really dead, so until Oscar’s death is 100% confirmed, he’s still alive.
Either way Wesley, run away. Run away FROM from Kobie. You can do better!

And now we get some closure for Nathan and Yardley (♥!), at least this part of their story. The boys have made it back to Nathan’s house, and he’s packing up for good. Pat and Ed arrive home, and Nathan says he’s leaving with his boyfriend. Ed wants Nathan to return to the camp, but Pat finally says to let Nathan leave if that’s what he wants. She’s still rejecting him, but there’s a spark of hope in there that she might come around. Or is that just me? Anyway, Nathan and Yardley are free now, although I’d say with a lot of trauma and I don’t know where they’re going from here since Yardley’s parents are presumably just as bad. I hope they come back for another season.

But we’re still only about halfway through. In the parking lot, Ryan’s still holding everyone at gunpoint, wanting Leanne to leave with him. Dave tackles him, leaving Leanne holding the gun. Who will she shoot? Dave or Ryan? (If the producers of that garbage show The Bachelor are looking for ways to up the tension, there’s an idea for free!) Anyway, it looks like she shoots Ryan, but there’s our cliffhanger for this storyline, so we might just have to wait and see.

And now, it’s time for the big reveal. The one we’ve been waiting for since March 7th, 2018. Who killed Troy McLeavey?

As it turns out, none of the main fan suspects (Quintin, Dave, Leanne, Oscar) were the ones who did it. Troy was killed to be silenced over something he witnessed, but it wasn’t because of Oscar’s predatory behaviour, Quintin or Dave’s drug dealing, or Ryan and Leanne’s affair. It wasn’t Kobie, for witnessing his tryst with Wes. It wasn’t Xavier, to keep his infidelity secret. It wasn’t even the Keltys.

THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING TO TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE EPISODE YET.

 

 

 

I MEAN IT!

 

 

OK, YOU ASKED FOR IT!

 

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED.

 

 

 

 

Troy arrived home, instead of going to Hayden’s because of their argument. While there, he caught Simon (yes, the sergeant who was killed in Season 1!) having an affair with Justine.

GOOD GOD WHY MUST THERE BE SO MANY CHEATERS IN THIS TOWN?!? Xavier, Ryan, Leanne, and now Justine??? That’s really low.

Sorry. I really hate people who cheat. And I have plenty of reason to, but this is a review, not a diary. Moving on.

Troy took pictures on his iPad, intending to show Colin when he got home. When Justine came upstairs, Troy confronted her and said he was going to tell Colin. Justine tried to make him keep quiet about it, but when Troy said no (as well he should!), Justine strangled Troy to death in a rage. Then, overwhelmed with shock and panic at what she’d done, she tried to unlock the iPad, and when that didn’t work, she ran it under the tap and hid it in the cubby house before dumping Troy’s body. And she killed Simon to cover it up further.

Colin now knows all this, and he arrives home to find a distraught Justine being tormented by Troy. Justine apologises over and over again, before dying from the cocktail of pills and alcohol she’s taken, rather than face the reality of what she’s done i.e 25-to-life for 2 murders, a lifetime of being isolated and hated for the crimes, obstruction of justice, tampering with evidence, a one-way ticket to divorce court….you get the idea.

I take back all the sympathy I ever had for Justine. She’s destroyed her family beyond repair. Quintin’s probably going to get caught for killing Brad, and even if he doesn’t he’ll never come home because of what Colin said to him. And as for poor Colin, he’s just learned his wife was cheating on him, killed their son, killed her lover, and she’s just killed herself.

But wait, it’s not quite over yet. There’s another ghost on the horizon.

Kate McLeavey.

End of Season 2.

Holy hell. I’m floored by the killer’s reveal. I honestly never saw that coming, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Between the performances and writing, Justine didn’t even really come onto people’s radar of possibility. And now that she’s gone, there’s no chance at justice. In fact, Colin might even get the blame for this too.

So, what now?

Well, I really don’t know what I’m meant to do on Wednesday nights after this, instead of waiting for the link to appear in my inbox. But I do know that Troy’s murder was a truly great mystery with an excellent twist, and there’s still so many possibilities on where the story can go from here.

If it was up to me, and it’s not, I’d say Season 3 almost definitely has to happen now. Troy’s story may have got a satisfying conclusion, but there’s much more to tie up. The drug storyline, Angela and her ex, Zara’s motivations, Quintin’s murder of Brad, Kobie and Wes, Nathan and how he’ll deal with the aftermath of conversion therapy, Hayden and his mother, and how on earth the surviving McLeavey’s are going to move forward, if they even can. Plus, we have a new mystery. Who killed Kate McLeavey?

I’m beyond impressed with this episode, and beyond impressed with After Nightfall. I’ve said it all, really. So keep an eye out for my next blog about what comes next, and if you don’t mind, I need to have another glass of rose on Colin’s behalf.

After Nightfall Season 2, Episode 7

Well…I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming.

Not Troy’s killer. We’re all but guaranteed to find that out next week, but there’s a real twist at the end that genuinely shocked me.  I need hardly remind you that this is going to be loaded with spoilers, but I will try to keep the big reveal of the episode out of sight as long as possible because, as Troy said, it’s just too good and I feel that not giving my readers a chance to watch the episode first would be doing the series a major disservice.

Last week ended with Troy appearing at a seance held by Colin, Ursula, Viv and Narelle, and we saw the montage of a flashback.
In episode 7, we see the whole thing. The last two days of Troy’s life are covered, and with that we actually get to see who Troy was, because up until now he’s been a great big question mark and completely defined by his murder. And through this, we see the events leading up to Troy’s death without actually revealing who the killer is…yet.

We start the day before he’s killed with Troy being woken by his mother, so a very typical teen in that regard. While walking to school, Oscar sees Troy and tries to turn on the “charm”, although I use that term so generously it should be a charitable donation on my tax return. Troy’s having none of it, but Oscar persists until he finally gets the message. It’s clear he’s not used to being rejected. And not only that, Troy accidentally bumps into Faye and she, of course, attacks him with a homophobic slur. Charming woman.

At the park, Troy’s getting a coffee when he suddenly sees Ryan and Leanne getting a little too close for comfort, and they know he’s seen too much. As he leaves, he comes across Nathan, who’s clearly uncomfortable with speaking to him. The conversation is short, but we finally learn a few details about their relationship. It turns out Nathan ended things with Troy because Troy was pressuring him to come out, which Nathan was justifiably scared to do. “What do you actually think would happen if you came out?” asks slightly clueless Troy. Oh Troy, if only you knew.
I’m very glad this scene was added for several reasons. First, while it’s understandable that Troy wanted Nathan to be out and proud, but he’s pretty ignorant of the fact that it’s not always a safe option for people to do so, and certainly not until Nathan is ready. Troy and Hayden are clearly very fortunate that their families are accepting of their sexuality. Nathan is not so lucky. I know if my brother or myself had ever come out, neither our parents or anybody in the family would bat an eye. However, the reality is, many members of the LGBTQ community can’t.  Every one of them has the right to reveal themselves on their own terms, and when the circumstances allow. And I’m very glad both sides of the argument appeared here. Plus, more screen time with Nathan is completely fine by me.

Now we come to the day of the murder. Again, Troy is woken by Justine, and we go through the breakfast scene we saw in the Season 1 finale. While walking to school, Hayden tells Troy he went to the police about Dave’s tip-off. Troy’s very upset, and conveniently Dave drives past with Quintin at that point. Troy storms off and later on we see him venting to Xavier and Grace about it. He says this fight is not a deal-breaker, but he’s giving Hayden the silent treatment to elicit more guilt from him. And after Grace leaves, Troy confronts Xavier for cheating on Grace.
Well, that throws a spanner in the works. Didn’t know that bit of information. The ominous music in the background doesn’t help Xavier’s case either. He’s going back on my list of suspects. Troy gives Xavier an ultimatum: tell Grace the truth tonight, or he will.

And now for the big one. Troy’s walking through bushland when he comes across two guys having, shall we say, an intimate moment. It’s Wesley (yay, I was right!) and….last week I thought it was Xavier. Well, it’s not.

It’s….

 

 

Spoilers coming below.

 

This is your last chance to turn back….

 

Are you sure?

 

Ok then.

 

 

It’s Kobie.

Yes, you read that correctly. Kobie and Wesley are having an affair. And Troy catches them in a very compromising position. Not only that, but he takes pictures. Wesley begs him not to tell anyone, while Kobie attempts to chase Troy with his pants around his ankles. LOL.

What happens next is unclear for now, but it appears Troy made it home after that encounter. Or maybe he didn’t, because as he approaches the door, he turns and stares directly into the camera. Unemotional, unflinching.

In the present, Colin snaps back to reality. And he says the final words. “I know who killed Troy,”
Cue the credits and the cliffhanger we all saw coming.

I have to hand it to the creatives and actors here for some very refreshing choices. They didn’t make Troy perfect. This is a trap a lot of murder mysteries fall into, and honestly the ‘perfect victim’ mentality would have been very tempting given time constraints, but they instead chose to make him real. He’s a normal, flawed but still very likeable teen. I can see why we’ve waited til now to see this flashback. It not only makes sense from a story and character point of view, but really to see this this any earlier would have given away some crucial plot points before we had all the information. This is also the best way to build up the last bit of tension before we finally get the answers we’ve been waiting for. If nothing else, we’ve learned why Kobie wanted Troy’s phone. And my mind has a final theory for Season 2. We know Kobie isn’t above blackmail, so it’s very likely he threatened to reveal Xavier’s affair unless he handed over the phone. I still stand by the argument that Xavier is realistically the only person who could have given it to anyone.

Next week, we will find out who the killer is, and Colin will likely be the first to confront them. I can’t imagine he’ll get out of that encounter unscathed. But that’s not all. There’s also the matter of Dave’s drug deal gone wrong, the aftermath of Nathan and Yardley’s escape, Quintin killing Brad, the tension in the McLeavey household, Oscar and Kobie, and setting up for a potential third season. The journey is almost over for Troy. But there’s still one more episode, and I for one don’t intend to miss a moment as the final pieces of the puzzle are revealed. Let’s see where this will ultimately take us. Let’s see who killed Troy.

After Nightfall Season 2, Episode 6

After last week’s episode and a stiff drink, Episode 6 is upon us and the drama, in a lot of ways, has come to a head. I’d be lying if I said this was my favourite episode so far, but it definitely has two of my favourite moments of the series!

Episode 6 opens where Episode 5 left off, with Angela attending the crime scene of Brad’s murder. Coroner Wendy is back, and they wonder out loud whether it’s the same killer who got Troy and Simon. It’s could be, but there’s a few key differences. Troy was strangled (although it’s been confirmed by the creators that the same person killed Simon), and Simon was stabbed twice, while Brad unfortunately got more than 20. But Wendy still says it’s possible. And there’s also a chance they might be next.

Is the series hinting that Quintin might not have killed Troy? Did he just go after Brad in an attempt to regain some sort of control after what Colin said to him? He’s not off my suspect list, because there’s a good chance he did it. But the truth might not be so black and white. Also, the McLeavey name is literally all over this. The first place the cops are going to look is that family, because Colin is the real estate agent. There’s no hiding from that fact. Colin could very well be implicated for this murder. In fact, he already is because of the crime scene. Here’s hoping Brad’s time of death proves Colin couldn’t have done it.

Speaking of which, Renee has arrived at the interrogation room to represent Colin against a highly cynical Zara, who despite having no hard evidence, declares her mission to prove Colin’s guilt. Neither Renee nor Colin are taking kindly to these accusations, but least impressed of all is none other than Troy himself. We saw last week he’s now able to physically throw things, and in this case he’s turned his attention to a stack of papers on Zara’s desk. We don’t see what happens next, but Colin talking to Troy like this is sure to raise a few eyebrows.

Meanwhile, Hayden’s come round to visit the McLeaveys, and Justine discovers her husband has been keeping more secrets from her (opening the iPad, Troy’s phone, working with Hayden etc). I think Justine’s about reached her breaking point, and justifiably so. Especially now Colin’s been released and hasn’t come home straight away. I really feel for Justine, probably more than almost any other character (except Nathan of course). She’s been through so much and arguably she’s dealing with everything on her own, even more so now she’s found out at least part of what Isobel’s been up to. Someone get that woman a martini.

The episode hasn’t even reached the halfway point. Oscar’s returned to his bookstore to find the place ransacked, and Kobie is waiting for him. Oscar’s pleas fall on deaf ears, and what follows is a brutal beating involving a bike chain. Oscar may be dead now, but the cardinal rule is that if a character doesn’t die on screen, they don’t really die. So until that’s confirmed, I think Oscar is going to stick around for a little bit longer.

Over at the park, Dave is with Quintin and Leanne, waiting for potential new clients. Quintin is restless (!) and Amaia is suspiciously absent.
A trio of university students/drug dealers arrive (Elijah, Sasha and Xander, according to the credits) along with their new head of security….Ryan. I wonder who could have predicted that. Obviously Dave is…less than thrilled and attempts to call the deal off. Sasha and Xander seem genuinely shocked at this, but Elijah appears to know the history already. Oh, and Ryan’s pulled a gun on everyone now. I’m sure this won’t end with any bloodshed whatsoever.

Sarcasm

And now we’re at the moment I’ve been chomping at the bit to see. The escape attempt from conversion camp. It…doesn’t go well. It seems the powers that be knew about the plans (I guess the guards did overhear them. Sad face). Most of the kids are dragged back…except Nathan and Yardley. Not going to lie, I almost lost it when they got away. Nothing good is waiting for those who didn’t escape, but at least my boys managed to get out. That’s something, and something big. Thank everything on God’s green earth. Yes, I realise it’s a fictional story. Yes, I realise it’s a web series and they aren’t the main characters. I know all that, and I don’t care. They are out and that’s all that matters to me. Sorry Troy. Still love you.

Finally, we’re at the main event. Colin, Viv, Ursula and Narelle have decided enough’s enough and they’re going to hold a seance. As Colin says, it’s time to find out the truth. What I know about seances could fit on the head of a pin so I can’t comment on the accuracies, but what I do know is this scene is one of absolute beauty. The atmosphere builds perfectly, the ambience is set, and Troy appears. He’s now able to touch his father, and speak to him. What follows is easily the most impressive sequence (from an editing point of view) in After Nightfall thus far.

We see a rapid succession of flashbacks to Troy’s last day alive. And yes, I am the obsessive who slowed it down and gleaned each frame for potential clues.

So here they are.

– Troy wakes up.
– There’s the breakfast scene we saw a glimpse of in the season 1 finale.
– Troy is talking to Oscar
– Justine answers the door
– Ryan walks away from Leanne
– Troy runs into Nathan
– Back to the breakfast scene?
– Troy walks to school with Hayden
– Dave is in his car
– Troy sits with Xavier and Grace
– Troy is walking through bushland and appears to come across a tryst between…two men. On first glance it seems to be Wesley and someone else. Someone with dark hair. Someone who at first glance MIGHT be Xavier, but definitely don’t quote me on that. I’m not sure. But surely that wouldn’t be the reason Troy was killed?

Episode 6 ends on a tantalising cliffhanger, probably the best one yet, and there’s no violence, no death, no explosive action. It’s just a father sharing a moment with the ghost of his son.

And this, THIS is why I love After Nightfall.

There’s a great balance between action and stillness. It knows when to let the characters breathe and have a quiet moment. It knows exactly how much action is needed and above all, it’s about the story and characters. And every single scene plays a part in the narrative. Especially considering the micro budget, small crew and limited timeframe they had to work with…it’s just phenomenal what this series has done. There’s really no other word for it. And I mean that sincerely.

Episode 7 promises to be a flashback episode to the day of Troy’s murder. We’ve had a tiny preview, so we have some idea of what to expect. I hope we get some answers to a few questions like Troy’s relationship with Nathan and why Wesley is so beaten up. But more than that, I hope we learn more about Troy, because he’s been quite the enigma this whole journey.

I don’t know what will happen next, but I know one thing for sure. We’re about to find out who killed Troy McLeavey.

After Nightfall Season 2, Episode 5

Oh. My. God.

W.T.F

I may or may not have needed to down a glass of rosé after last night’s episode. Because I did not see that ending coming. And naturally, I’m here to write about it. There’s a lot to go through in this episode and some tantalising theories to spin, so pour yourself a glass and let’s get right into it.

Episode 5 opens with our friendly neighbourhood drug dealer Dave seemingly contemplating his recent decline, when Leanne shows up. And before I go on, I have to say, I do feel bad I’ve not given actor David Woodland the praise he deserves for his solid performance. So here it is now. He’s wonderful in this role. He sells the danger of this man while also imbibing him with a humanity not often seen with this type of character. This is also down to the writing, but the performance is great regardless. That’s really one of the main strengths of After Nightfall, as I said back in my very first review. The moments we see the characters are short, but the power of the writing and the acting is able to get across a lot with very little. But that’s also an advantage of film as opposed to live theatre.
Anyhow, Leanne shows up and she’s done with the icy reception she’s been getting since Dave discovered her infidelity. She wants to know what she can do to be forgiven, but he’s not sure there’s anything she can do. A feeling I understand all too well.

Next, one of the juiciest scenes in the episode. A big call, I know, but I’m making it anyway for reasons you’ll soon understand.
Hayden shares his suspicions of Wesley (still calling that as a red herring) with Grace and Xavier, and this is where things get VERY interesting.
See, Grace points out something that had actually been bothering me since Season 1. When she and Xavier found Troy’s body, what made them look in the ditch?
Troy’s phone ringing.
And then, Kobie mysteriously got hold of it. Later, they caught him burying the phone where Troy’s body was. Grace rightly wonders how he got hold of it. She suspects maybe the police gave it to him, but we know that can’t be the case; they’ve been looking for it the entire time. Someone else gave it to him, and from the music, the shifty eyes and the camera angle, that person has to be Xavier. Think about it. He’s literally the only one who could have done it. The only question is why? And to that, I have literally no idea. Maybe something to do with Oscar? He did say in season 1 episode 5 Oscar stares at him…

The scene cuts to my beloved Nathan at conversion camp. And this is where I will mildly celebrate the fact that one of my theories has turned out to be correct. Nathan, Yardley, Daisy and two other camp members Finn and Tess (who shares a surname with Leanne. Coincidence?) have joined forces and decided they’re going to try and escape. Next week, we’ll see if they’re successful or not. And I hope to heaven they are. But I’m wondering, did those guards overhear them?

The episode is far from over. Oscar is confronted by an enraged Kobie, and just barely manages to get away. Somehow I don’t think this is over. And I really doubt Oscar is going to survive beyond this season. It’ll be incredible if he survives before the finale.

Meanwhile, at the McLeavey household, Justine discovers the money Isobel’s stolen. But before she can ground her til the age of 18, Zara and Angela arrived with a search warrant…and Brenda.
Brenda claims Troy told her he put his phone and iPad in the kitchen drawer, which she saw Colin do in the last episode. Zara finds it, and after berating Angela for not searching thoroughly in the initial sweep, Colin is taken to the station for questioning.
Since Nathan’s parents and the conversion camp leaders haven’t shown up for me to hate this episode, I shall focus my wrath on Brenda here with no shame whatsoever. What the hell is your problem, lady? You’re so desperate to seem credible you’ll get an innocent man arrested? Sure, Colin’s no angel and he wasn’t polite last week, but why should he be polite to someone who profits off exploiting and scamming grieving families? And it’s not just him, Colin’s not the only one affected by this. Justine’s been through more than anyone should and Isobel may be a scheming little brat but she’s still a kid. Holy hell this woman is a piece of work.
But as Colin is being taken out, Troy appears, causing a chair to fall. Narelle was right. His strength is building.

With bombshell after bombshell, this should be the end of episode 5, right? Haha, no.
The biggest twist of all is coming, in a house Colin is selling for his real estate job. Huh. I picked him more for an accountant. But no matter. Brad arrives, and who should be there waiting for him but Quintin. And he’s come prepared. We have our third death on the show. First Troy, then Simon, and now Brad. I guess that means we can cross him off the suspect list.

Quintin has been on many viewer’s suspect list, including my own, but now we’ve actually seen him kill someone. And he’s clearly premeditated this. He wears gloves to prevent fingerprints. He’s laid down plastic on the floor. It’s almost like he’s done this before….
There’s a massive amount of evidence here. Quintin has a background you could describe as ‘shady’. He reacted to the news of Troy’s murder by angrily kicking a chair, but he hasn’t really seemed overly torn up about it. His father told him last week he wished he’d been the one murdered instead of Troy. He works for his criminal uncle. When Dave was named a suspect, he instantly said “That’s bullshit!” He was in the area where Troy’s body was found, around the time the body was left there. He’s physically strong enough to overpower his brother, and he’s old enough to drive. He obviously attended Troy’s funeral. He knows how police investigations work. He knows how to conceal evidence, and Simon was also stabbed to death. We also know Simon had some kind of deal going on with Troy’s killer, and Dave’s gang had Brad on the payroll.

Did Quintin kill Troy? It certainly seems that way, but this is After Nightfall, and there’s 3 episodes left. Troy was strangled, not stabbed, and there’s definitely a number of people who could have been responsible. But still. This is not going to go unnoticed. A second police officer dead, and in a house attached to the McLeavey name? I think Colin needs to watch out, because there’s every chance he’ll be tied to this murder.

This is yet another episode showing the advancement the series has made this season. The music, the camera shots, the locations, the effects budget, the performances, everything has stepped up to the next level. The story is continuing, not rehashing or falling into the trap of writing without an endgame in sight. You can tell every scene is important in the overall arc. Every single moment is racing towards something, and now it’s full steam ahead on all fronts. It’s a remarkable achievement and everyone involved should be commended for what they’ve done.

I need hardly remind everyone that Season 1 had six episodes, so this time last season we were almost at the end. Here, we have 3 episodes left, and a huge amount of stories to tie up. There’s questions that need answering, and characters that need closure. If I’m honest, part of me is wondering how this is going to be accomplished in such a short amount of time, especially with no guarantee of a third season, which would have a new storyline. But I have confidence that whatever happens in the final three episodes, it’ll be worth the ride we’ve been on, and I’ll be here to write about every moment. Because if there’s one thing After Nightfall deserves, it’s to be talked about. And I’m going to give them that.

 

Interview: After Nightfall

After Nightfall is a web series that has me hooked. It’s a refreshing new mystery surrounding the murder of gay teenager Troy McLeavey. It’s not set in the 1950s, doesn’t take place in the outback, has nothing to do with either world war, and thank heavens for that. In March and April this year, I reviewed the entire first season. And, full disclosure, in September I spent two days on set with the cast and crew filming a brief cameo for Episode 1 of Season 2. Everybody involved could not have been nicer, although part of me wondered if that was because I was known as ‘Superfan’ to most of them, having written such glowing reviews. I’m joking by the way. Wayne and his team of actors, camera crew, DOP etc are all professionals of the highest order.

With Season 2 due to be released in early 2019, I sat down with writer/director/star Wayne Tunks for a spoiler-free talk about the process behind filming such an ambitious project, and what we can expect in Season 2 and beyond.

For a writer, inspiration can come from anywhere. Where did the inspiration or spark first come for After Nightfall?

I was actually going for a walk late one Sunday night and the idea came to me. I walked for about an hour and the ideas kept rushing at me. By the time I got home to write everything down I had the basic premise, the name, many characters and the killer. I barely slept that night and the next day started writing. It was a story that needed to come out of me.

Did you map out every detail of the story before writing or did parts of the mystery happen organically?

A combination of both. To start I usually just write and let it flow out but then as the project continues I make a more detailed story map. The first 2 eps just came out organically and then the rest was planned. Having worked as a storyliner on Neighbours, our job was to plot story, so I still use a lot of what I learnt there.

What was the biggest challenge with shooting?

Independent filmmaking is an exercise in shooting on the smell of an oily rag. Shooting on a tiny budget is challenging but also rewarding. So as director I end up as production manager, set dresser and caterer as well as directing. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The entire world of After Nightfall is about the murder of a gay teenager. However, Troy himself remains shrouded in mystery. He’s mostly seen as a ghost and has had maybe five lines of dialogue so far. Was this a deliberate choice?

For Season one, definitely. It’s about the people left behind and how they react and which of them is the one that killed him. I like that Troy is a mystery, at first you’re even asking if his ghost is really there or if his Dad is going mad. In Season two we will see a lot more of Troy, including a flashback episode – so the mystery will slowly be revealed.

Troy is gay, and one of the things I personally love about After Nightfall is how this is portrayed as being completely normal. However, let’s be honest, the majority of LGBTQ characters in pop culture seem firmly rooted in stereotypes and coming-out stories. Why do you think this is the case?

For me all gay stories are important, whether it be a coming out story or others. For the 19 years I’ve been writing I have always tried to put gay characters in my work. When I am watching things now, especially TV, and there are no gay characters I get a little angry. Gay people are in every part of society and deserve to have our stories told. So whether it be coming out, a love story or just a gay cop, I’ll take any gay themed stories and characters.

After Nightfall has a large ensemble cast with many interesting characters. Do you have a favourite character to write for?

I love them all, my characters are like my children. But I have always enjoyed writing a good villain, living vicariously through them. So characters like Kobie, Oscar, Dave and Faye are fun. Plus, writing for myself is fun, guarantees I get some good lines!

My favourite character is Nathan Kelty. His harrowing storyline involves being trapped at a conversion camp. This is a reality for many LGBTQ people, but it’s very swept under the rug especially in media portrayals of the LGBTQ community. Were you at all apprehensive at tackling such a sensitive and rarely-seen issue?

It is our society’s big shame at the moment. I am constantly confused as to why certain religious people seem so obsessed with gay people. They are ruining the lives of young members of the LGBT community and governments let it happen. We like to believe it is just an American thing, but these horrendous places exist in Australia as well, so we need to talk about it. And we need to stop them hurting more innocent people.

What are the challenges of appearing in a project you wrote and directed?

I have been doing it in theatre for a long time but doing it in film is new. It is often intimidating but I was lucky to have an amazing crew around me to help out. But I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, I’m just one of these control freaks who likes to have a finger in every pie.

Obviously, we don’t yet know who killed Troy McLeavey. How have you managed keep the secret with so many actors and crew involved? Was it difficult?

Season One it was just myself and the actor playing the killer who knew. So many people would ask but we were both good at keeping it a secret. I loved hearing the cast and crew’s theories. Now, naturally, after filming Season two, a lot more people know. It was a relief to reveal it and now hope they can keep the secret.

What has been your favourite day on set so far?

Day one for sure. It was all so new and was a big risk. It was an experiment, we would do one day and see if it worked. It was a great success and I felt such a sense of achievement. After one day we knew it was viable and we began planning the rest.

Season One was definitely a success. It’s been screened all over the world and has won a number of awards. Were you surprised at how well people responded?

It’s always the hope that whatever you create, is a success. But I don’t think you ever really believe it will happen. People have been great fans and I feel very humbled. And the awards were the biggest surprise. It feels even more special that other people seem to enjoy the project as much as we do.

To the eagle eyed viewer, it would seem there are clues peppered throughout season 1. Is the mystery solvable to someone who is really paying attention?

100% there are clues, but to be honest, they are subtle. To me they are obvious, but the clues are small and there a lot of red herrings, as you would expect from any murder mystery. I hope when people discover the killer that they look back and see that it makes sense.

What do you most want people to take away from this project?

First and foremost, I want people to enjoy watching it. Love when I hear people binge the series. And I love when I hear people talking about who killed Troy McLeavey. And if we can also talk about important issues while entertaining, even better.

Now that Season 2 filming is done, what’s next for the world of After Nightfall?

We have one more season to go. There will be a new mystery and a lot of storylines to clear up. So after Season two, you will get to see your favourite and not so favourite characters. So watch out for Season Three.

Click here to watch After Nightfall Season 1

Reviews here:

After Nightfall Episode 1 & 2
After Nightfall Episode 3
After Nightfall Episode 4
After Nightfall Episode 5
After Nightfall Episode 6