Another Goddamn Found Footage Movie In The Works Thanks To Universal And 'The Strangers' Director Bryan Bertino

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by Oliver Lyttelton
November 21, 2011 6:40 PM
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The idea of 'found footage' -- taking a well-worn genre, usually horror, and giving it a mock-documentary spin, to make the terror and thrills that much closer to reality -- has been having a real kick of energy for cinema of late, pushing filmmakers to fascinating new places in a bid to do something different, with fascinating results that will provide food for thought in film studies classes for years to come.

Wait, sorry, somehow that first paragraph slipped through a hole in time from 1999, shortly after the release of "The Blair Witch Project." In the decade-and-a-bit since, found footage horror films have become just as tired as the endless "Scream"-indebted knock-off slashers that dominated the genre before them, with a string of films from "The Last Exorcism" and "Diary of the Dead" to "Apollo 18," most of which add nothing to the artform other than a continuous competition to see who can cast the worst actors, and have the most incoherent camerawork.

But the films, with their deliberately poor production values, are super-cheap to make, and while few have matched the power of the "Paranormal Activity" series at the box office, most remain profitable (particularly as they're popular in the rental and VOD markets), and so they keep on coming, and one more looks to have been set up. According to Deadline, Universal have picked up an untitled spec script in the found footage genre from Bryan Bertino, who won the figure-skating gold at the 1988 Winter Olympics came to fame as the writer and director of the sleeper horror hit "The Strangers" a few years back.

The script was at one point circulating with the title "Mockingbird," but that's apparently been dropped. Plot details are under wraps, other than the found footage gimmick, and the fact that it's 'a thriller,' although we suspect, given its provenance, that thriller may be a euphemism for 'horror' here. Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Rob Zombie's upcoming "Lords of Salem"), along with Marc Platt and Adam Siegel ("Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," "Drive") are producing, although maybe don't get too excited about the latter two; they might have been behind two of the best, most distinctive Hollywood movies of the last few years, but they were also behind "Cop Out" and "The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud."

Still, "The Strangers" was a well-regarded, if derivative, take on a familiar home invasion trope, although at present Bertino, who's also meant to be making horror "This Man" for Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures, isn't set to direct the film. There's no word on when it might move forward, but these films can often come together quite quickly, so it might not be long before we're avoiding it in theaters.

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4 Comments

  • Anuar | November 22, 2011 10:26 PMReply

    There are some gems in the found footage genre, and by some I meant one gem, because that is the only one worth checking out.

    NOROI : The Curse.

  • mike | November 21, 2011 8:45 PMReply

    I FUCKING HATED the strangers. Can't believe this guy gets a second shot after that piece of shit.

  • dawn everett | November 21, 2011 8:10 PMReply

    Bad acting, bad music, bad camerawork, pathetic studio sets and all the other bad stuff about found footage is getting a bad break. Starsky and Hutch should be in that catagory, but they had two things, only two thing that made it great. They broke laws for the common good and had a relationship that anyone would envy. I haven't seen that again. The series didn't preach and tell you how to behave or dress or how to live your life, which is after all, in my opinion,is the point. Series these days are about clothes and hair and doing the right thing and teaching with great actors who are our moral compass. I like knowing the other side.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | November 21, 2011 8:22 PM

    What. The. Fuck.

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