At the start of the summer of 2008, a modestly budgeted horror flick called “The Strangers” surprised many by holding its own at the box office with heavyweights like “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and the first “Sex and the City” movie, ultimately grossing $82 million on a $9 million dollar budget. Not exactly 'Indiana Jones'-style numbers, but enough to get sequels talk started and a little clout for the film’s helmer Bryan Bertino. While talk of further installments has been circling ever since, Bertino has yet to follow-up his directorial debut.
Now we have word that Bertino’s absence from behind the camera won’t last much longer, as Deadline is reporting that he is set to helm “Mockingbird,” which will mark his return to Universal following his debut with “The Strangers.” You’ll remember we mentioned Universal had picked up this spec script from Bertino back in November, though then it had apparently dropped the “Mockingbird” name, and the only details were that it was a found footage film. Well, that's still about all we know, plotwise. Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Rob Zombie's upcoming "Lords of Salem,” ”Insidious”) and Marc Platt and Adam Siegel ("Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," "Drive") are all producing, with Scott Bernstein overseeing for the studio.
After the success of “The Devil Inside,” along with this weekend’s “Chronicle” and even the upcoming “The Last Exorcism” sequel ready to invade cinemas with shaky cameras and shoddy production values, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the found footage genre is alive and well. Bertino, who’s been circling projects like "This Man" for Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures for some time, still stands as an untested talent as far as helmers go. While “The Strangers” was financially successful and well received by critics, it’s hard to find much to enjoy about the film once the adrenaline rush of scares caused by a first viewing has dissipated, and you’re left with the sort of excessively violent home invasion film Michael Haneke attempted to deride twice with “Funny Games.”
This project seems to be coming together fast and seeing as how Jason Blum likes to have a full slate of horror films at his disposal, we’re guessing it won’t be long before it's well into production.