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SYFY WIRE Cannes Film Festival

'The Crow' & 'Dark City' director Alex Proyas returns with first new horror film in decades

The director of The Crow and Dark City has a new horror-thriller on the way.

By Matthew Jackson
The Crow 1994

In the years since breaking through with the 1994 dark fantasy hit The Crow, director Alex Proyas has made feature films only sporadically, with work including the sci-fi cult classic Dark City and the big budget spectacles I, Robot and Gods of Egypt. Now, Proyas is returning to the director's chair for the first time in more than half a decade, and this time he's doing it with a return to the kind of films that helped launch his career.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Proyas' next film will be Sister Darkness, a new horror-thriller effort described as "a macabre female-driven fever dream of revenge and gothic terror" with a vibe similar to his breakthrough film The Crow. The film will follow a woman named Alice, who's navigating an unhappy newlywed existence when she discovers Isla, her doppelganger with a story "seeped in a tale of bloody retribution against her oppressors, the hellish supernatural nightscape and a dreaded uprising against the deceitful aristocracy.”

In announcing the film, which began looking for worldwide distribution opportunities at the Cannes Film Festival over the weekend, Proyas cited classic British haunted house films like The Innocents and The Legend of Hell House as key points of inspiration for the film. 

Alex Proyas

Sister Darkness will also mark an interesting new production endeavor for Proyas and his studio and VFX company Heretic Foundation, which launched in 2020 in the director's native Australia. The $35 million film will be a "fully virtually production" using a process Heretic Foundation has spent the last two years developing, and is expecting to be shooting later this year. 

“We are excited to be embarking with [producing partners] 108 Media on what we genuinely believe will be the first step of a long and fruitful journey together,” Proyas said in a statement. “Sister Darkness will be a milestone in the use of virtual production at this scale, and Heretic’s talented team will allow us to establish production values at much higher levels in this budget range than ever before thought achievable. This is the future of filmmaking.”

So, Proyas' first feature film since 2016 will also be a major step forward for the filmmaker in terms of virtual production, a process that's been carried forward by everything from Avatar to The Mandalorian in the 21st century and now seems to be increasingly popular way for certain filmmakers to up the productions values on their low and mid-budget films when possible. It'll be really interesting to see what Proyas, who built dark dreamscapes with the technology of the 1990s, can do with the technology of the 2020s. 

Looking for more dark horror in the meantime? The Firestarter remake is streaming now on Peacock, along with films like 2005's Constantine, Stephen King's Dreamcatcher, The Descent and more.