Will audiences ever tire of the documentary-style horror film? The success of "Paranormal Activity" proved that ten years after "The Blair Witch Project," people are still into the format, which employs a false sense of authenticity that makes the events appear more real and seem more plausible -- and are therefore scarier. But no film can ever be more frightening than "The Exorcist," right? Well, how about a film that's like "The Exorcist" shot in the style of "Paranormal Activity"?
That's one way of describing "The Last Exorcism," a new horror film produced by Eli Roth ("Hostel") that has just been picked up for distribution by Lionsgate, according to Variety. Formerly titled "Cotton," the film, which premieres at SXSW next month, brings the faux-doc method to a story of an Evengelical priest (Patrick Fabian) who invites a film crew to document his final exorcism. According to a Lionsgate executive, "audiences are going to find this movie scary as, well, hell."
Although I'm not much of a horror geek, as a documentary enthusiast I tend to be fascinated by the "verite-style" sub-genre. And I'm especially intrigued about "The Last Exorcism" because it's directed by Daniel Stamm, who previously helmed a great, provocative film I wish more people had seen (or could see) called "A Necessary Death." That too is a faux documentary, about a film crew following a man planning to commit suicide.
Despite the fact that it's fiction, "A Necessary Death" examines all the ethical questions associated with non-fiction cinema, and I imagine a similar movie focused on exorcism might also tackle big moral questions. While also scaring the crap out of its audience, too. Unlike "A Necessary Death," "The Last Exorcism" was not written by Stamm. Instead, he's working off a script by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland, makers of the non-horror faux documentary "Mail Order Bride."
Variety also reports that Botko and Gurland will soon direct their own film, a psychological thriller they're currently writing titled "The Other Woman," with Roth again producing. It sounds like it too will be shot in the faux documentary style, as it involves the making of a film. Roth says it will explore, "the worst nightmares of those who have had extramarital affairs, and the sickest fantasies of those who have been scorned."
Are you scared more by documentary-style horror films? Or are you getting tired of the trend of scary movies pretending to be true stories?