It has been five years since the great Sam Raimi directed a movie, and that movie was Oz the Great and Powerful, which I didn’t even bother to see, to be honest. To be even more honest, I didn’t much care for his two films before Oz — Drag Me to Hell and Spider-Man 3 — but the man behind The Evil Dead is filmmaking royalty to this horror nerd, and attention must be paid whenever he gets involved with a new genre movie. To that end, Raimi has signed on to produce an adaptation of James Herbert‘s horror novel Shrine for Screen Gems, the studio behind the Raimi-produced hit Don’t Breathe.
Veteran screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos (Beauty and the Beast) is set to write and direct the film as well as produce with Raimi and his Ghost House partner Rob Tapert. Screen Gems execs Scott Strauss and Michael Bitar will oversee on behalf of the studio, while Romel Adam will oversee for Ghost House, which has a Grudge reboot coming out next year.
As for Shrine, the story follows a disgraced journalist who tries to resurrect his career upon discovering a series of seemingly divine miracles in a small New England town, though he soon learns that the “miracles” may have a much darker source.
Herbert is described as the Stephen King of the UK, having sold 54 million books worldwide. I’m not very familiar with his work, and sadly, the same can be said for Spiliotopoulos, even though we once had lunch together several years ago. Back then, he was an up-and-coming writer who had made his bones writing direct-to-video animated movies. I was impressed with his story, as that can be a tough corner of the industry to escape, but he really paid his dues and worked his ass off to get to this point. Seriously, he has a dozen films in development around town. I may have missed Hercules with Dwayne Johnson, The Huntsman: Winter’s War with Chris Hemsworth, and Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, which grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide, but I will say this much — Spiliotopoulos has absolutely earned the chance to direct, and I wish him the best of luck with this project, which actually sounds really interesting.
Meanwhile, Raimi is a veteran producer who thrives with this kind of material and is coming off Don’t Breathe, of which I was a big fan. I still think Raimi should focus on returning to the director’s chair, and I do wish I was writing about his long-gestating Bermuda Triangle movie instead, but Shrine is a great title for a horror movie and I like the idea of exploring the dark side of miracles. I might even have to pick up this book…
Raimi is represented by CAA, while Spiliotopoulos is repped by WME, Fourth Wall and Cover 1 Entertainment. The news was first reported by Deadline.