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VFX Legion Shares ‘The Passenger’ Breakdown Reel

Team delivers 60+ shots and digital effects intensifying the high-impact violence throughout the hostage thriller, from the bloody restaurant massacre to the killing spree that follows; now available on streaming platforms.

VFX Legion served as primary visual effects studio on The Passenger, the new hostage thriller directed by Carter Smith (Swallowed) and written by Jack Stanley (Lou), which focuses on two employees at a seedy burger joint - tightly wound Benson (Kyle Gallner - Smile) and timid, submissive Randy (Johnny Berchtold - Dog Gone).

The movie, one of eight horror films developed and produced by Blumhouse exclusively for MGM+, is now available on digital.

In the film, Benson snaps, triggered by the persistent bullying of Randy, who fellow employees force to eat a rancid burger. The protagonist gets a shotgun from his car, massacres the tormentors, and flees, taking Randy as his passenger/hostage on a violent rampage.

To achieve a spectacle of carnage with the intensity that the director envisioned, Legion created various digital effects, including gruesome scenes in the restaurant and the killing spree that follows. Digitally rendered muzzle flashes, bullet hits, blood splatters, and other brutal imagery deliver high-impact visceral violence throughout the film. 

One of the most challenging effects, tracking a long, continuous shot, achieved a perfect lock on camera moves in SynthEyes. In the pivotal scene, the uninterrupted take heightens the ferocity of the bloody slaughter of two employees.

The Passenger required invisible effects to help build dramatic tension. Artists also replaced objects in practical photography with computer-generated assets, digitally deleted elements captured by the camera, and augmenting footage shot at multiple locations, aligning the look of environments with the film’s storyline.

Legion, a fully remote VFX boutique with studios in Los Angeles and British Columbia, assembled a team - led by VFX supervisor Blake Anderson – that included artists throughout British Columbia, enabling the production to take advantage of the province’s tax rebates. 

Studio co-founder, Burbank-based James David Hattin, provided creative direction, with the studio directing the digital effects beginning at the early stages of planning through production and post. Working closely with the Blumhouse’s team in pre-production, Hattin mapped an approach to the sequences – streamlining workflow, maximizing the CG’s impact, and ensuring seamless integration of shots with practical footage.

Check out The Passenger - VFX by VFX Legion:

Along with creating the effects for The Passenger, Legion produced VFX in two of the other eight Blumhouse/MGM+ thrillers, Unhuman (2020) and A House on the Bayou (2021).

VFX Legion artists used various tools to create the film's visual effects, including Autodesk Maya, Redshift, SynthEyes, and Nuke.

The Passenger is currently available to view on streaming platforms.

Source: VFX Legion

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.