New feature film DarkGame starring Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl) has launched in the US on Apple TV, after filming entirely at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location in Bristol with support from Bristol Film Office.

DarkGame is a thriller directed by Howard J. Ford, starring Ed Westwick and co-written by Bristol company Happy Hour Productions’ Founder and CEO, Tom George, who also produces.

Although set in Portland, Oregon, the entire shoot was carried out at The Bottle Yard Studios, and additional filming also took place at an office location in Bristol arranged by the city’s Film Office team.

Producer Tom George says: “DarkGame is a film inspired by lockdown. Whilst we were all contained in our homes, I had this idea of making a contained thriller about a dark web reality game show – this was before Squid Game was a thing. I wanted to make something that would tick the genre box, but would also provide some commentary on our fascination with reality TV, even when it features peoples suffering, and how social media helps propagate that fascination.

“I also knew I wanted to develop something I could make if lockdown lasted for years, something primarily studio and interior location based that I could produce here on my own doorstep in Bristol, but that would look and feel international, something that was set in the US. So DarkGame was born.”

DarkGame follows determined Portland detective Ben Jacobs (Ed Westwick) who is on a race against time to stop a twisted game show on the dark web, where captives are forced to compete for their lives for the entertainment of the criminal underworld who gamble on the results. It’s not long before viewers worldwide find themselves hooked on this macabre game of life and death. All of which delights the presenter of the game, a flamboyant psychopath hungry for fame and attention. Events escalate as more and more people tune in on social media, and the stakes are raised even higher.

Andrew P Stephen (Wool), Natalya Tsvetkova (Brief Encounters), Lola Wayne (Pandora), Rory Alexander (Alex Rider) and Rose Reynolds star alongside Westwick.

We hope to be able to update you on a UK release date soon.