‘Howdy, Neighbor!’: Debby Ryan, Alyson Stoner, and More Disney Stars Join LGBTQ+ Horror Movie!!

There have been a ton of genre reinventions in the last handful of years. Most notably the found footage sub-genre of horror that has seen a new type of story, the “screenlife” film, take haunting shape as a byproduct of the pandemic era. Now, reported exclusively by Variety, there is a new LGBTQ+ centric film in the works from that modern sub-genre titled Howdy, Neighbor! from director Allisyn Snyder and writer Matthew Scott Montgomery.

Snyder and Montgomery are both Disney Channel alums from the popular sketch comedy series So Random!, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg here. This film will feature a massive Disney reunion. Along with Montgomery in the lead role, the film will also star Debby Ryan (Suite Life on Deck, Jessie), Alyson Stoner (Camp Rock, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody), Shayne Topp (So Random!, The Goldbergs), Kevin Chamberlin (Jessie), Tim Bagley (Shake It Up!, Raven’s Home), and Damien Haas (So Random!). The cast also includes Sterling Sulieman, Adam Faison, Greer Grammer, Grant Jordan, and Kimmy Shields.

The horror thriller will be produced by Snyder, Montgomery, and Exit Strategy’s Charles M. Barsamian. Along with Exit Strategy, Watch the Footage, a production company founded by Snyder and her husband Dylan Snyder (Kickin’ It!), will be producing the project.

In terms of what to expect from this uniquely angled film, The plot of Howdy, Neighbor! is as follows:

Montgomery stars as Benjamin, a young queer millennial actor living in West Hollywood who was once a famous child actor. When a new neighbor Chase (Jordan) moves across the hall and reveals himself as a fan, Benjamin begins investigating the oddly familiar man with his best friend Harley (Ryan).

All the footage from the film will be taking place on computer screens, hence the name “screenlife”. Found footage has been a sub-genre that has been around for decades, but this particular style of the sub-genre helped bring a fresh perspective to a frankly tired plot device. Films like Unfriended and Host are two extremely underrated modern horror movies in this format and Howdy, Neighbor! sounds like it has a lot to offer to this type of story.

From the description, there’s definitely a reason that most of this cast hail from childhood stardom. It seems like the film will be a horror story that will tap into some of the drawbacks that come from being a child star on a channel like Disney or Nickelodeon.

Everyone in this cast is drenched in that culture, so it is going to be fascinating to see what the stars are able to pull from their pasts to better inform this story. Some of the behind-the-scenes stories that have recently come to light about former shows on the Disney Channel can be considered horror in their own right. Each of these actors most likely has their own kind of horror story to bring to this production—which makes the set-up of this film very compelling. It has the potential to really challenge how companies like Disney treat their child stars while touching on the trauma that these stars deal with after the fact. It will also be interesting to see how the found-footage and LGBTQ+ themes play into the overall narrative as well.

It’s always exciting to see these former childhood stars break away from that kid-friendly mold. Ryan in particular has been doing a good job of that lately with the Netflix films Horse Girl and Night Teeth. Howdy, Neighbor! is set to enter production later this month, so we are sure to hear more about this intriguing horror film soon enough.

 

via Collider

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