Sam Raimi wants you to Panic.
The Spider-Man director, in his other guise as boss of Ghost House Pictures, has won a bidding war to snap up the latest hot talent on the block: Fede Alvarez, the Uruguayan director of YouTube sensation, Panic Attack!.
If you haven’t seen Panic Attack! by now, it’s a really-quite-impressive short film in which Montevideo is attacked by a legion of giant robots. From Spielbergian beginnings – a small child is beguiled as massive legs emerge through a mist – to Bay-esque conclusions, as the city is torn apart by rockets and fire, it’s a bit of a belter. And all without a single line of dialogue.
Oh, and did we mention that it cost only a couple of hundred dollars?
It’s that last bit that seems to have piqued Hollywood’s interest more than anything. With the success of the Poundland-priced Paranormal Activity and Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 – to which Panic Attack! bears the most obvious comparison, given that it was a film based on a micro-budget short film that attracted heavyweight Hollywood attention – it’s clear that studios are on the lookout for talent that can generate big ideas and big badda-booms for bargain basement prices.
Alvarez, who designed the robots himself, could be such a talent. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was taken to LA a couple of weeks ago, not long after Panic Attack! went online, for a dizzying round of talks with different studios.
At the end of it all, just before Thanksgiving, he signed on with Raimi – a man who knows a thing or ten about prodigiously-gifted first-time filmmakers – and Ghost House Pictures with a view to developing an original genre project.
The nature of the project itself is being kept under wraps for now, with a writer being hired to flesh out Alvarez’s idea. But, given the supernatural bent of Ghost House, we imagine that this won’t simply be a full-length version of Panic Attack!
And if you want to check out Panic Attack! for yourself, click here.