Right now superheroes are the dominant force at the box office - but their take over in the 2000s only came after many missteps and false starts in the 80s and 90s. While superheroes are now having their day, video games are quietly gearing up for their own second attempt at movie dominance - a movement led by game publishers and studios developing their own IPs into the type of films that will better represent the genre and source material.
With big console titles like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed now headed to the big screen, it's no wonder that mobile games are also getting into showbiz (stay tuned for that Angry Birds movie - coming in 2016), and that list of mobile game adaptations now includes popular iPhone game, The Drowning.
Deadline reports that The Drowning has been picked up by Radar Pictures, and been assigned writers in the forms of Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, whose biggest writing credits are recent action movie throwback films, Olympus Has Fallen (its upcoming sequel, London Has Fallen) and The Expendables 3.
The Drowning iPhone game imagined a near future (2021) in which the world has been plagued by "The Black," an oily mass that washed up from the seas, turning anyone who touches it into zombies who attempt to drag whomever they can down into The Black as well. A man wakes up on a boat being attacked by zombies; when he makes it ashore, he meets a woman named Charlotte and becomes embroiled in a mission to cut off the source of The Black for good.
The game sold well enough, but received mixed to negative reviews from critics based mostly on its touch-screen FPS interface. That should have little to do with the movie, which is reportedly being envisioned as "an ecological horror tale about a deep-sea oil-drilling accident that causes ancient micro-organisms to be released into the water supply of an island town off the Seattle coast."
That's a bit more grounded than the game; in fact, it sounds like The Drowning Begins more than anything. Clearly the connection will be that the "ancient micro-organisms" make people go all zombie - but on the whole, this project already sounds less like the new revolution of video game movies, and more like a generic action/horror flick that happens to be based on an iPhone game. With potentially divisive political undertones regarding the environment, to boot.
It's still early in development, but so far, it's hard to imagine how a touch-screen aiming system (a featured distinction of the game) can be used in any way to help distinguish this movie as something both unique within the action/horror sub-genre, and representative of the game it's based on.
As that 2005 Doom movie proved, first person shooting perspective isn't an effective gimmick for video game simulation in movies. Hope The Drowning has a better plan - because if you haven't noticed, zombies have been done to death, lately.
We'll keep you updated on the development, casting and plot details of The Drowning movie.