As Paranormal Activity continues to spread to theaters across the nation, the film's director, Oren Peli, has been keeping his hand-held camera focused on another modern phenomenon, Area 51. For his next film, the Israeli-born director will be headed into America's worst-kept secret, to tell the story of three teens whose stupidity curiosity leads them to the famous secret-section of the Nellis Air Force Base out in the Nevada Desert, in search of (what else?) extraterrestial phenomenon.
Of course, when they get there, strange things are bound to ensue.
Area 51 will employ the same "found footage" narrative structure as Paranormal Activity and Peli is no doubt getting the round-third-base go ahead now that his $11,000 ghost story is on the way to being a box office mega-hit (for a movie that cost so little to make). The budget for Area 51 will be just slightly higher, reportedly around $5 million (which is still crazy low by modern movie standards). Financing for the film has already been jointly secured through Aramid Entertainment Fund and Incentive Filmed Entertainment. IM Global is handling worldwide sales, while CAA is angling for the domestic take.
Peli will work with the same team who helped him turn Paranormal Activity into a scary success, including producer Jason Blum. You can check out quotes from Peli and the parties involved with Area 51 over at Variety.
Since Area 51 will have a "found footage" structure, we can assume that things don't turn out well for the curious teens holding the camera. And while I'm confident that Peli will have some clever cinematic tricks up his sleeve to make you jump in your seat a few times, I'm yet not sure if a movie about a rumored site of extraterrestrial study is going to have the same widespread goosebump potential as Paranormal Activity's simple story about what goes bump in the night around your house. And I'm pretty sure that BIGGER scares are exactly what the viewing audience will be expecting from Peli.
Then again, before Paranormal Activity came along I'm sure a lot of people believed that all the best ghost stories had been told, so maybe Peli will once again get clever with his filmmaking and deliver something golden in the alien/conspiracy/sci-fi genre. Alien shot with a camcorder COULD be a hit, if done correctly.
How do you feel about Oren Peli heading into Area 51? Have you seen Paranormal Activity yet?
If you answered "no" to the latter question, head HERE now and demand that Paranormal Activity get shown in your town!
Production on Area 51 is expected to start next week.