Director BenDavid Grabinski Talks Giallo Touches Behind ‘Happily’ And ‘Streets of Fire’ Love

Headlined by Kerry Bishé and Joel McHale, Happily is now out in theaters and VOD.


Director/writer BenDavid Grabinski’s latest feature Happily centers on a still in lust married couple (Kerry Bishé and Joel McHale) who are envied by their friends. Their happy union is upended thanks to a mysterious stranger (Stephen Root) who has his ulterior motives. Grabinski talked to Deepest Dream about his dark comedy/thriller which is now out in theatres and available on digital and On Demand

Cleverly billed as a “killer romantic comedy,” Happily has a ton of layers which even a week after viewing, I’m still unpacking. The darker and more realistic aspects of relationships are explored in the film while the tale unfolds in a seemingly guitly pleasure driven veneer. If you’re a fan of Giallo cinema, you will find some noticeable touches in director BenDavid Grabinski (all that “Deep Red” compositions were welcome!), and the employment of a Streets of Fire song is also a big plus for the movie!

Genre cinema is a big passion for Grabinski, and he wanted to infuse a bit of that Giallo and paranoid thriller layers within a cinematic burrito that also includes a touch of Albert Brooks (Lost In America, Modern Romance).

Joel McHale and Kerry Bishé in “Happily.”

“I wanted to use a lot of those stylistic and dramatic elements to pull you into the story,” said Grabinski. “You should really feel like at any moment maybe everyone is going to get killed or something really f**ked up is going to happen. I wanted to combine that sort of engagement with an existential kind of character (driven) adult movie with a lot of jokes. I just wanted to make a dark romantic comedy with thriller elements that didn’t feel traditional.”

Stephen Root in “Happily”

For the audio version of my Grabinski and a quick discussion of Happily (co-hosts Bruce Purkey and Eric Holmes will review the movie next week), check out the latest episode of our Find Your Film podcast:

Co-starring Natalie Morales, Natalie Zea, and Breckin Meyer, Happily is now out in theaters, digital and available on On Demand.

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