The man behind the computer-screen horror Unfriended franchise and first-person action film Hardcore Henry is continuing to evolve the world of cinema. Director and producer Timur Bekmambetov, who helped pioneer what he calls "Screen Movies," is making a movie that isn't for fans' desktops, but their smartphones. That's right, his upcoming film V2. Escape From Hell is entirely shot in vertical format specifically for mobile viewing.
According to Deadline, the cinematic innovator (who recently produced zombie apocalypse series Dead of Night for Snapchat) is taking a step away from old-school purists who balk at people watching movies in imperfect formats like on their laptops or phones. Sorry, Martin Scorsese, but this movie is supposed to be seen on a phone. The legendary director (who recently took superhero movies to task) has begged audiences not to watch The Irishman on their mobile devices because, well, he didn't shoot it that way. But V2. Escape From Hell is definitely not The Irishman.
Despite its demonic title, V2. Escape From Hell is a World War II film starring Pavel Priluchny as a prisoner of war in its based-on-a-true-story narrative. “Visually, the film is built around a person — this is a story about a man standing up and straightening his shoulders in spite of the circumstances," Bekmambetov said. "And about a rescue plane soaring up into the sky."
But the story isn't really the point here: The format is the real draw. Since it's a vertical video — you know, the thing people always ask parents not to take — watching it anywhere besides a smartphone will leave giant black bars on the sides of the screen. Basically, this isn't just the first blockbuster made for smartphone viewing, it's the first blockbuster to specifically discourage theatrical viewing.
The $10M-budgeted movie is starting production in Russia next week, aiming for a release in early 2021.