Dimension Films and Blumhouse Productions are joining forces to resurrect the Amityville Horror franchise, and they've attached one celebrated actress and one fast-rising ingénue to front their latest devilish incarnation.
Titled simply Amityville, the horror film will focus on a single mother who moves her three children into the haunted house with a bloody history. Bloody Disgusting confirms Franck Khalfoun, who helmed the polarizing Elijah Wood vehicle Maniac, will direct, and Jennifer Jason Leigh has signed on to play this menaced mother. The Wrap reports Disney kid Bella Thorne of Shake It Up! will co-star. Though her role has not been confirmed, we can assume from her age of just 16 that she's been set to play one of Leigh's onscreen offspring.
Previously, Amityville was being called The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes, a title that played into the initial found footage concept. However, with horror fans becoming vocal about their growing frustration with that subgenre, the found footage angle has been scrapped. What's unclear is how the newly released plotline of Amityville will tie into the previous logline IMDB has associated with The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes. At the time of publishing, it reads:
An ambitious TV news intern leads a team of journalists, clergymen and paranormal researchers into an investigation of the most famous haunted house case in the world.
Daniel Farrands and Casey La Scala are credited as the screenwriters of both versions of this project, and will produce alongside Blumhouse founder, Jason Blum. Amityville née The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes will be the twelfth in a long line of sequels and reboots, all inspired by the paranormal experiences the Lutz family claimed to have experiences in the winter of 1975.
According to George and Kathy Lutz and their three children, evil spirits plagued the house. Swarms of flies would appear. Unseen beings would reach out and touch them. Their daughter made friends with a pig-like demon called Jodie. A mysterious green ooze appeared on their walls. And George and Kathy complained of being physically assaulted by the supernatural. These claims have been called into question over the years, spurring investigative documentaries as well. But the premise of a house turning evil and spreading pain and violence like a virus never seems to get old. So, here we go again.
Amityville will hit theaters on January 2nd, 2015. In the meantime, look for Thorne in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as well as the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended, the trailer of which suggests there are worse things than another Amityville Horror sequel.