March 13, 2018 at 10:00 AM EDT

In the psychological thriller Allure (out March 16), Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood plays a troubled woman with a dark history of abuse who seduces and manipulates a teenage girl. The film costars Julia Sarah Stone and Denis O’Hare and is written and directed by Carlos and Jason Sanchez.

“The initial storyline of the script was based on real-life stories of abduction and imprisonment cases in which young victims were held captive for many years by a male aggressor,” the filmmakers tell EW, via email. “When these victims finally managed to escape and recounted their horrific experiences, what often came to light was that during their captivity they sometimes had chances to escape but chose not to. The ‘invisible leash’ that came to hold them back fascinated us. We were drawn to write a film about a young captive and her older male abductor that depicted how this invisible leash is formed and the events that ultimately lead to its dismantling.”

But, they add, “Fast-forward a few years to the point where we have a script financed but are having difficulties casting our male lead — by this point Room had just been released. During a discussion with our casting director, Heidi Levitt, she mentioned that she thought she’d have an easier time casting the role if it was a female. We were silent for a moment and then knew that that’s what needed to happen. With the male lead we were always fighting with a physical aspect to the domination and manipulation that detracted from the psychological essence we were trying to access. That all changed though when we swapped genders — we were finally able to tap into the emotional realm that we felt made for a more interesting and unique story. We asked our producers and financiers to give us a year to rewrite the film, and thankfully they did.”

Allure will be released in theaters and via On Demand and digital retailers March 16. Watch an exclusive clip from the film above.

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