Recent UCLA film school graduate Tim Schechmeister has spent the last few months on the festival circuit with Viral, the horror short film he wrote with his brother Matt. Schechmeister met Stephen Susco (writer of The Grudge and its sequel) at a screenwriting event in the summer, and handed him a business card with a link to the short. Susco was impressed, and showed it to his Grudge producer Roy Lee. Lee brought fellow producer Lawrence Grey in to pitch it to Screen Gems, who has now picked up the rights to adapt the short into a feature-length movie. The system works! The Schechmeister brothers will write the film, with Tim set to direct again. Susco, Lee, and Grey will produce alongside John Middleton.
Viral is an 11-minute tale about a cyberbully that incorporates supernatural elements. Hit the jump more info on the short, plus a trailer.
Here’s the syopsis posted on the Facebook page for Viral:
“Julia and Alexis are supposed to be studying. But Alexis gives in to the temptation to go online and provoke someone… or something… that should have been left alone.”
Susco explained what he likes about Schechmeister’s work.
“It strikes at the modern social media anxiety that really hits a hot nerve in this country. How young people communicate is changing and technology is altering the tenor of that communication—in many cases for the worse. And this is an opportunity to do something scary and really potent at the same time.”
I am torn. On one hand, I really, really love the name Schechmeister. On the other hand, I hate Susco’s pitch. Though admittedly I tune out whenever someone talks about the way social media and new technology has changed the way my generation communicates, because I am part of the problem.
Watch the trailer below, and judge for yourself.