Crawl director Alexandre Aja’s new interactive horror movie will let cinema audiences influence the outcome of its plot. Aja enjoyed box office success this summer with his survival horror Crawl, which made almost $60 million worldwide against its modest $13.5 million budget. Gory gatorsploitation at its best, the film saw Kaya Scodelario come up against both a Category 5 hurricane and a horde of hungry alligators, and earned itself a respectable 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Crawl wasn’t Aja’s first foray into the horror genre, of course. By this point in his career he's a seasoned horror director, with seven horror features under his belt that include his French language splatter-fest High Tension and two remakes - Piranha 3D and The Hills Have Eyes. Alongside his directing work, Aja has also produced a number of horror properties, including the films Maniac, The Pyramid and The Other Side of the Door.
His new horror movie, however, will potentially be his most groundbreaking to date. As reported by Collider, the currently untitled film will be a haunted house movie with a twist - the twist being that theater audiences will be able to influence its narrative. The interactive horror is being developed by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and is based on an idea by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, who've collaborated on many horror properties, including The Haunting of Hill House and Gerald’s Game. Beyond the haunted house starting point, no further plot details have been revealed, but Aja will be directing from a script penned by himself, Howard and Nick Simon (The Girl in the Photographs).
To create the choose-your-own-adventure style horror, Amblin Partners is teaming with Kino Industries and its CtrlMovie technology, which aims to give filmmakers and cinemagoers an ‘audience-collaborative cinematic experience’. With Aja’s film, theater audiences will use an app on their cell phones to cast votes deciding what characters will do at pivotal points in the horror’s plot. This will mean that each audience that sees the film could potentially experience a different narrative, ending and runtime.
Interestingly, it’s the second project blending horror and mobile technology announced by Steven Spielberg this year, after he also confirmed he’s working on Spielberg’s After Dark - a mobile horror series that can only be watched at night. Aja’s movie will also join a few other recent audience-interactive projects like Black Mirror’s standalone movie Bandersnatch, which featured five different main endings, and Twitch’s sci-fi series Artificial. The Crawl director’s new movie could turn out to be great, but it could also end up feeling gimmicky. Either way, it’s certainly an interesting idea, and it’ll be exciting to see how horror talents like Aja, Flanagan and Howard bring it all together.