Alternative singer-songwriter Joe P recently released his debut short film, If We Run. Inspired by classic slasher films of the 80s and 90s, If We Run turns the horror genre on its head by utilizing Joe P’s original music and integrating it into the story itself. Since this project was released in conjunction with his sophomore EP, French Blonde, Joe’s latest single of the same name acts as a pseudo-narrator in the film’s sinister cold open. While the plot stays true to the films that If We Run pays homage to, namely Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, injecting a musical element without crossing that line into movie-musical territory gives this film the potential to be a trendsetter to the rest of the horror genre.
If We Run seamlessly blends performances from Joe P’s French Blonde EP into its narrative in an innovative and totally unexpected way. At first glance, the plot feels like any other in the slasher film subgenre – four friends travel to their first party of the summer in rural New Jersey, having to fight for their lives when the masked killer decides to join in the festivities. Where there would be an understood lag in the story (a change in setting or transitioning towards the next plot point, for example) that could run the risk of feeling drug out, Joe P’s in-universe performances provide a necessary breath to guide the audience forward.
These musical breaks bleed into the narrative itself at critical points in the story – one minor character even going so far as to address Joe P as Some Dude Playing His Guitar during his performance of “Off My Mind”. Each performance brings the singer deeper into the story until he becomes the final victim at the film’s climax. Utilizing his own music as a narrative tool to not only guide the story along but also introduce him as his own character in the film provides a long-needed breath of fresh air to the horror genre. This kind of innovative storytelling is what gives the genre a new outlook amongst the same old slasher tale told time and time again.
French Blonde, as a collection, successfully embodies the indie-alternative sound in a way that pulls its audience out of whatever they’re doing and brings them into the world each song creates. With pounding tracks like “All Day I Dream About” (watch the official music video HERE) and the titular “French Blonde” (watch the official live performance video HERE), Joe P’s sophomore EP is sure to catapult him into a much larger audience. In a press release issued prior to French Blonde’s release, Joe P says:
“This EP feels like I finally got everything off my chest and out of my head that was stuck in there for way too long. I honestly have never made something that I don’t care what people think of more than this collection of songs because it doesn’t even feel like I could have made anything else other than what you hear. I recorded all of the vocals alone in my basement and I think I will always do that because it bakes in a sense of reality where the water heater could turn on at any moment and ruin everything.”
If We Run features Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark), Kevin Interdonato (The Sopranos), and Joe P wearing many hats as Writer, Producer, and Lead (starring as both the Killer and himself). If We Run was written and produced alongside director and frequent collaborator, Anthony Yebra.
You can watch If We Run here (and above) and stream French Blonde anywhere you listen to music!