The Devil Inside Director and Screenwriter Board New Project; Is a Sequel in the Works Too?
01.12.12 by Ryan
The supernatural horror movie, The Devil Inside, opened to an impressive weekend at the box office, winning the top spot for the weekend and earning $33.7 million on a $1 million budget despite being eviscerated by critics. In light of The Devil Inside's success, Writer-director William Brent Bell is doing what any new director with a #1 movie would do: line up as many new projects as possible.
Earlier this week, Bell grabbed the director's chair for Warner Bros.' upcoming, found footage, "conspiracy-driven thriller" The Vatican, which is currently being "fast-tracked" through the studio; but will first direct an untitled new project from Devil Inside screenwriter-producer Matthew Peterman.
Plot details are being kept secret on the project, though the movie's press release says that the untitled Bell/Peterman movie "offers a similar style of filmmaking the team brought to The Devil Inside applied to another classic horror mythology", so take that for what it's worth. Clearly, Sierra/Affinity and the Incentive Filmed Entertainment fund, who are funding the project, are looking to duplicate the success of The Devil Inside and are ignoring the negative reviews from critics and audiences (The Devil Inside only has a 25% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes).
"From day one we have been huge fans of this filmmaking team and the way they have crafted a unique movie-going experience with The Devil Inside," said Sierra/Affinity CEO Nick Meyer. "These are filmmakers we know and trust and they bring an original voice and style to our next project that will once again introduce audiences to a new expectation of what one can define as a genre film." Meyer certainly knows how to capitalize on the horror genre, serving as executive producer on Shark Night 3D, which didn't have as much box office success as The Devil Inside but didn't lose money either.
The question remains whether the negativity will topple a possible Devil Inside sequel. Considering the movie's massive box office success, it would seem like a sequel is a sure thing, but producer Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity 3, Insidious) isn't so sure.
"It's a little premature," Schneider told ,The Wrap of a Devil Inside sequel. "Everybody is processing what happened — the remarkable weekend we had — and feeling really good about that. Certainly the filmmakers and [executive producer] Lorenzo [di Bonaventura] and I would all love to explore that with the studio and I think we believe that there is absolutely the potential to carry forward our storylines from the original. It would be a rather organic and fun process — and one that would lead to great results."
Schneider said that he's not worried about The Devil Inside's bad reviews but conceded that the movie's criticism has paused the final decision on a sequel. "It leads to healthy conversations," Schneider said of the reviews. "Although the vitriol on some of the blogging sites and stuff can sort of get in the way of a more rational analysis. That's why we need a little bit of time to process."
Having worked on the Paranormal Activity movies, Schneider is clearly familiar with the "found footage" style that seem to be dominating horror movies of late — The Devil Inside used a "documentary-style" approach. Schneider thinks the convention has yet to run its course. "A lot of the reviews talk about found footage as a genre that's tired," said Schneider. "The irony is, the movie opened to such remarkable numbers... I think it's still in its infancy in terms of its aesthetic and stylistic development."
Schneider added that the found footage format allows newcomer writers and directors a chance to make movies since it makes a movie more affordable. Whether it will allow Bell to make another Devil Inside, however, remains to be seen.In the meantime, Bell will be shooting his untitled new movie in Romania starting in April.