Exclusive: ‘Crawl’s Alexandre Aja to Direct Interactive Haunted House Movie for Amblin

     August 14, 2019

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Hot off his summer horror hit Crawl, genre maestro Alexandre Aja has signed on to direct an untitled haunted house movie for Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Partners, and the kicker is, it will be an interactive horror film featuring a branched narrative — i.e. a choose-your-own-adventure-style horror movie.

The film will be written by Jeff Howard (The Haunting of Hill House), Nick Simon (The Girl in the Photographs), and Aja, based on an idea by Howard and Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep).

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Image via Relativity Media

To develop the project, Amblin Partners is working with Kino Industries’ CtrlMovie technology, which empowers filmmakers to create branched narrative, interactive feature films that allow audiences to influence the storyline. Using an app on their cell phones, audience members will be able to vote in the theater to decide what characters will do at pivotal points in the narrative, meaning that Aja’s film will have a different plot, ending and even running time depending on the audience’s choices.

Kino Industries’ Chady Eli Mattar and Scott C. Silver will serve as producers, while Aja will executive produce with his longtime partner Greg Levasseur (Piranha 3D). Tobias Webber, who co-founded Kino Industries and invented the CtrlMovie technology, will also serve as an executive producer on the project, which Amblin executives Jeb Brody and John Buderwitz will oversee on behalf of the studio.

Aja’s Crawl has grossed nearly $60 million worldwide on a sensible $13.5 million budget, and it rates 84% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Aja’s campy Piranha 3D also scored with critics, and High Tension remains a genre standout. The French filmmaker also directed Mirrors and the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes, both of which were modest genre hits.

Howard co-wrote Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Before I Wake and Gerald’s Game with Flanagan, with whom he also worked on The Haunting of Hill House and the upcoming Netflix series Midnight Mass, while Simon co-wrote and directed The Girl in the Photographs in addition to directing the Syfy movie Truth or Dare and co-writing the 2013 Bryan Cranston thriller Cold Comes the Night. Flanagan has the Stephen King adaptation Doctor Sleep hitting theaters this November, and he’s currently prepping the Hill House follow-up The Haunting of Bly Manor.

Aja is represented by WME, manager Sarah Bottfeld at Industry Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson, while Howard and Simon are managed by Kailey Marsh at Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Flanagan is repped by WME and manager Stuart Manashil at Novo, and VanderKloot Law. Kino Industries, Mattar and Silver are repped by WME and Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo.

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