Hayden Panettiere, Nikki Reed Go Chicago-Suburb Psycho In Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘Downers Grove’

Hayden Panettiere is 21 and Nikki Reed is 22, but they just can’t seem to get enough of high school. According to Variety, the actresses are set to star in the thriller “Downers Grove,” based on the Michael Hornburg novel about a cursed high school in a Chicago suburb where each year one senior dies a bizarre death right before graduation.

Here’s the truly interesting part: “Less Than Zero,” “American Psycho” and “Rules of Attraction” novelist Bret Easton Ellis has adapted the screenplay for the film. Judging by the aforementioned log-line, the movie would seem to be along the lines of the “Final Destination” flicks — a strange fit for a man like Ellis, who’s know for novels generously laden with social commentary, violence, perversity and satire.

But wait! A closer examination of the plot reveals that this plays to Ellis’ strengths more than we originally thought: The novel follows senior Chrissie Swanson (Panettiere), who, in addition to worrying about perishing in a cruel and unusual manner, also has to deal with an oversexed mom (Rebecca DeMornay is also on board for the film, and we’re betting this is her role), a horny best friend (Reed) and a weird younger brother. Plus, as the book jacket tells us, “Downers Grove” is “full of humor, wit, and the sacrilegious worldview of a savvy teenager” and “paints a searing portrait of the American dream in all its broken glory.” In other words, it’s right in Ellis’ wheelhouse.

Nelson McCormick (“Prom Night”) is set to direct the movie, which will film in the suddenly popular (because it’s so cheap) shooting locale of Louisiana in the spring.

Do you think Panettiere and Reed are perfectly cast in the movie? And is the material a good fit for Ellis? Share your thoughts in the comments!