LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The release of a trailer earlier this week for a horror film titled “Del Playa” has sparked outrage from thousands of people who claim the movie hews too closely to the story of last year’s mass murder in Isla Vista.
The movie depicts a troubled college student who turns to violence after being turned down by girls and ostracized by his peers. In last year’s Isla Vista tragedy, 22 year old Elliot Rogers killed six people and injured 14 others on and near the UC Santa Barbara campus before taking his own life. In a YouTube video, he said his violence was retribution for being turned down by girls at the school.
Shortly after the film’s trailer was released this week, activists launched a Change.org petition to halt the release of the film. The petition had gained 23,000 supporters as of Sunday morning.
“Seeing a trailer for a movie called ‘Del Playa,’ it’s something that’s a trigger, I think, for me and a lot of people,” said Makayna Charter, a former UCSB student whose best friend was killed in the attack. “It brings up a lot of pain and grief that people are working to deal with in a healthy way.”
Josh Berger, a producer of the film who is also a UC Santa Barbara graduate, issued an apology to those he offended, saying he did not intend to “monopolize on the tragic shootings in Isla Vista.” He said the movie is a fictional account, and should not be viewed as a direct portrayal of last year’s killing spree.
“While I do admit there is the connection of Santa Barbara, this film is not about Elliot Rodger,” Berger said. “The fictional character in the film is not meant to portray anyone in particular.”