A24 is one of the most successful independent production companies of recent years, with a regular presence at the Oscars (“Everything Everywhere at Once” is nominated for 11 awards this year, for example). Their hand in every possible genre – they are also behind the success of “Or Yarah” and “Lady Bird” and also the success of “Hereditary”, for example. But alongside much bigger future productions, one of their upcoming projects, “The Backrooms”, is intriguing for several reasons: because it involves “Stranger Things” producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen. Because it’s based on a series of viral YouTube videos, which in turn are based on a much broader internet phenomenon that grew right out of our collective nightmares. But probably the thing that will be talked about the most is the thing that is in the title of this very news: the director who will lead this whole thing to the screen is the Canadian Kane Parsons, which is his first full-length film. Not really surprising, because he’s only 17 years old and the movie will be shot during the summer vacation, because after all, he shouldn’t miss school because of it.
“The Backrooms” is a series of viral YouTube videos that Parsons started shooting about a year ago, the most popular of which has reached 45 million views (and the rest are not suckers either – the weakest among them are content with 4.5 million views in total). Parsons photographs enigmatic and stressful scenes in abandoned offices and long corridors with a yellowish filter. Sometimes he works with a manual camera, sometimes he simulates security videos, sometimes there are a little more concrete scenes with real characters, stressful close-ups and lots of unpleasant noises in the background. There isn’t really a concrete plot (although surfers and investors have heated discussions in the comments about what is really going on there), there is lots and lots of atmosphere – and all of this is in itself a response to the viral trend of “liminal spaces” – photographs (mostly unstaged) of spaces of this type. This whole business can remind a bit of the dystopias of Terry Gilliam, David Cronenberg and of course “Detachment”, which no doubt drew quite a bit of its psychic design from the concept of liminal spaces – and perhaps even from Parsons’ own videos.
In any case, Parsons, who has already proven his visual and atmospheric talent, will direct a feature film with a script by Roberto Patino (who created the “DMZ” miniseries, based on the excellent DC comics, and also wrote for “Westworld”), and we know that according to the vague plot of the original videos, here too the genre is expected to be something between horror and science fiction. Time will tell if there is a new and rising talent in the field of horror, but one thing is certain: we already know who will have the best answer to the question “how did I spend my summer vacation” this year.