A dialogue on inclusion, horror and more with The Birch writer Casey Modderno

The Birch Season 2 - Courtesy of Crypt TV
The Birch Season 2 - Courtesy of Crypt TV /
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The Birch Season 2
The Birch Season 2 – Courtesy of Crypt TV /

The Birch writer Casey Modderno talks Season 2

Facebook Watch and Crypt TV’s horror series The Birch returns this Friday, March 26 with brand new episodes. Ahead of the premiere, we chatted with series writer Casey Modderno about her work on The Birch Season 2.

The second season will pick up where the first left off and follow a newcomer Rory (Jordyn DiNatale) who calls upon the vengeful monster the Birch to help her get revenge against her peers who have been cyberbullying and harassing her.

Throughout The Birch Season 2, Evie (Xaria Dotson) will get her chance at redemption as she tries to stop Rory from making the same mistakes that she did in the show’s first season.

Modderno has written all episodes of The Birch thus far and is one of the key creative minds behind the successful series. A transgender woman, we chatted with Modderno about the importance of inclusion and representation in the series and in Hollywood as a whole and the impact of the horror genre at large. She also walked us through her process of writing for the characters and introducing this season’s timely storylines.

The series will drop episodes weekly on Fridays at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET with the finale scheduled for May 28, 2021. All episodes will be available globally on Facebook Watch on The Birch and Crypt Monsters pages.

Chatting with writer Casey Modderno about her work on The Birch Season 2

Hidden Remote: What was your approach going into The Birch Season 2?

Casey Modderno: The Birch Season 2, I think we wanted to expand on one of the themes of the series which is this idea of the philosophical clash between punishment and condemnation versus empathy, forgiveness and reform. We wanted to bring back our antihero from Season 1, played by Xaria Dotson named Evie, and bring her back in a position where she’s fighting for redemption.

In Season 1 she went on basically a murderous rampage and acknowledged the error of her ways a bit too late. In this season we’re giving her a chance to talk a newcomer out of making the same mistakes as the newcomer calls upon the Birch to get brutal revenge against all of her online cyberbullies and tormentors.

HR:  Speaking of cyberbullying, that’s something the new character, Rory deals with a lot in the first episode. Can you talk a little bit about why you chose to include that and what you hope audiences to take away?

CM: It was honestly borne partially of something we were all going through at the time. We started working on the second season right when the world went into lockdown so I think a lot of people were engaging in others through their phones or computers. So, I think we wanted to explore that type of isolation, a girl who was on summer break and doesn’t have many friends in real life and the way that shifts to seeking acceptance online.

When the people she looks for acceptance from turn against her online it seems like her world is really falling apart. It came from a place I think I could put myself in, because again the entire world only existed through screens, especially in those first few months.

The Birch Season 2
The Birch Season 2 key art – Courtesy of Crypt TV /

HR: One of the strengths of The Birch is how it grounds its characters in reality. How did you get into the mindset to write these two different teenage girls?

CM: Xaria I had carried over from Season 1, my mindset for her in Season 2 was, I feel like everyone has done something they regret in the past or wish they’d done better. I was pulling from a well of like, “Were there any people I bullied when I was younger?” You know, and what would I say to them and what could I do to make up for that fact?

Everyone has been in that position of being the bully or tormentor, I think [Evie] did it because she felt righteous in her victimization, she knew she had a good cause and she was able to take it to a brutal extent and dehumanize people in the process. I think we’ve all done that, we’ve reduced people to a specific role in our heads and in the process don’t see their humanity.

I was looking at that for myself, looking at restorative acts and punishing acts. It’s cool to give her a second act in that way. For Rory, I was pulling from my hatred when I see people say transphobic stuff online. I don’t know anything about those people except that one transphobic comment and even though I’m a grown a– woman, I see that and my eyes go red. Because I’m just consumed by why someone would want to tear a community down in that way.

So I was like, yeah okay, I can milk this rage. Presumably, that’s also a person that, despite their bigotry, has done nice acts toward others, could potentially grow and reform. Ultimately, I don’t think the show sides with her but we still want to understand her emotionally.