Amidst all the big-budget mega-blockbusters this summer, Alexandre Aja managed to carve out a respectable performance from his horror flick Crawl, your timeless tale of human vs. alligator vs. hurricane.
Now, the director behind High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, and Piranha 3D is staying firmly in his horror lane as he's signed on to make a haunted house feature for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners. But unlike most horror movies that get a theatrical release, this one will ditch its linear story and instead embrace a sprawling 'choose your own adventure' narrative (one seemingly unrelated to any of the actual Choose Your Own Adventure series of books).
According to Collider, Aja will direct the interactive horror feature from a script by Jeff Howard and Nick Simon. The initial idea comes from Howard and Mike Flanagan, the pair behind Netflix's Gerald's Game adaptation as well as The Haunting anthology series. Flanagan is also the director behind the upcoming Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, while Simon helmed the horror crime drama The Girl in the Photographs.
Apparently, Amblin has already been working with Kino Industries' CtrlMovie technology, which helps filmmakers create a more elaborate branched narrative. With that in place, audiences in the theater will vote on how pivotal moments in the film will play out via a smartphone app — so clearly standard movie theater rules won't apply to these screenings.
This is also a major step for the relatively new field of audience-influenced entertainment. Last Christmas, Netflix made a significant splash with the choose your own adventure-style supersized Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch, and has since promised more interactive feature-length specials would be coming in the near future.
However, taking the experience out of the living room and into the theater is a significant step up for the whole 'choose your own adventure' experience overall. To say nothing of the sheer pedigree of creative talent that's behind this particular project.
Not to mention that as smaller films continue to struggle in general, a 'choose your own adventure' film could provide the kind of collective camaraderie that would ratchet-up the theater-going experience immensely. Providing you can get used to an entire theater whipping out their phones every few minutes, presumably.