Grudge Producer Goes Viral

Picks up student short for Screen Gems

Grudge Producer Goes Viral

by Owen Williams |
Published on

Recent UCLA film school graduate Tim Shechmeister has just scored his first big break: his short film Virus has been caught by Screen Gems{ =nofollow}, who are set to spread it into a full-blown feature.

The ten-minute short is reportedly a slightly Catfish-like cyberbullying tale, but with a supernatural edge. Shechmeister has been opting for the festival circuit, rather than posting the full thing online, but there is a short trailer out there{ =nofollow}. It shows two girls being mean on the still-active facepage of a dead "friend", and getting a nasty shock when they hear back from her. Cue a brief montage of violent images like necks in nooses and guns in mouths.

It's a bit Ring (updating the cursed technology from video-cassettes to social media) and a bit Grudge, which is evidently why it attracted the attention of (American) Grudge writer Stephen Susco, who in turn took it to franchise producer Roy Lee. "I like to keep up with what's going on, and I see a lot of student films," says Susco. "I rarely see something as polished as Viral. It really hits a hot nerve in this country. The way young people communicate is changing, and technology is altering the tenor of that communication, in many cases for the worse. This is an opportunity to do something scary and really potent at the same time."

Susco and Lee will produce, along with Lee's producing partner Lawrence Grey. Schechmeister will be directing, and he'll co-write the feature script, as he did the short, with his brother Matt. You can keep yourselves updated on the project's own Facebook site, which hopefully won't end up haunting or stalking or killing you.

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