A student filmmaker has managed to get himself a deal to get his creepy short film, Viral, made into a feature length chiller. Tim Shechmeister made the short film and co-wrote it with his brother Matt, and at a screenwriting event last Summer, Tim handed his business card and a link to the 11-minute short to Stephen Susco, writer of the American version of The Grudge.
Shechmeister is a big fan of J-Horror, and those influences can be seen in his short, and naturally Susco was impressed and brought the film to the attention of producer Roy Lee (The Grudge).
The roughly 11-minute short is set in the world of cyberbullying and eventually includes supernatural elements. In fact, the story could be described as being reminiscent of The Grudge or The Ring, but primed for the current generation that uses smart phones and Facebook as extensions of themselves.
“I see a lot of student films and like to see what’s going on,” says Susco. “I rarely see something as polished as this one.”
“It strikes at the modern social media anxiety that really hits a hot nerve in this country,” says Susco. “How young people communicate is changing, and technology is altering the tenor of that communication—in many cases for the worse. And this is an opportunity to do something scary and really potent at the same time.”
Screen Gems have picked up the rights, and Lee will produce along with Susco and Lawrence Grey. Tim Shechmeister will write and direct, and will bring in his writing partner and Brother Matt to co-write the full length version. Check out the creepy and incredibly well produced trailer below, and expect more on this as it develops.
By Matt Wavish