Studiocanal is teaming up with the creatives behind hit lockdown horror Host on a genre movie pitched to the Euro studio as “The Conjuring behind bars”.
Host writer-director Rob Savage will direct the film and Host writer-exec Jed Shepherd will produce with Studiocanal.
Brit filmmaker Savage told us the project is a “melding of the prison escape movie and the haunted house movie, in which a group of women who stage an unsuccessful breakout attempt discover a secret room that unleashes a dark presence that marauds the halls at night. The film will have a claustrophobic quality akin to The Descent“.
U.S. scribe Teresa Sutherland, writer on well-received 2018 frontier horror The Wind, is aboard to script the project.
Savage told us there are on-going conversations about whether the feature will be set in the U.S. or UK, though it currently incorporates elements of Brit folklore.
“None of the characters are conventional good guys,” Savage added. “So, there are opportunities for interesting casting choices with actors playing against type.”
The team is aiming to shoot the contained horror – which would still represent Savage’s biggest feature budget to date – in 2021. Studiocanal’s previous genre output includes successful franchise The Last Exorcism.
Savage’s Shudder chiller Host has been one of the sleeper hits of lockdown, garnering strong reviews and widespread media attention. The low-budget UK film follows six friends who hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown. When an evil spirit starts invading their homes, they begin to realize they might not survive the night.
The 25 year-old filmmaker told us the plan is for the film to get a theatrical run later this year after London screenings at the BFI and Prince Charles cinema.
Savage is planning to follow Host with another low-budget found footage film, which he wants to shoot late 2020 or early 2021 with the same creative team.
“We want to keep up the momentum from Host,” he tells us. “It’s not a conventional sequel to Host, more of a follow-up film. If Host was about the horror of lockdown, this is about the fear or going back outside, of the world reopening. It won’t have a conventional development process so we’re putting the gas on it now and we’re in talks with various industry partners about it.” Shudder is likely among them.
Savage’s star has been on the rise since his 2013 feature debut Strings, which he made aged only 17, and a host of well-received shorts. Among projects in development are the untitled Sam Raimi horror film we announced last month and UK genre film Seaholme. Earlier this year he also directed on AMC TV series Soulmates.