When the description of a movie involves summer camps and horror, you usually imagine a bunch of horny teens being hacked to bits and otherwise dismembered by a hulking brute with a machete. However, the new film Cropsey is going to take some of those elements and work them into the same mold as movies like The Goonies and Gremlins.
According to Variety, DreamWorks and super producer Frank Marshall are getting together to develop Cropsey. Their goal is to take horror and thriller elements, and work them into what the report calls an "Amblin-esque" mold. They are currently in talks to pick up a pitch crafted by Richard Naing and Ian Goldberg.
The movies that are directly referenced here, The Goonies and Gremlins, typify the approach Amblin did all throughout the decade of the 1980s. The company, founded by Marshall, his wife, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and guy named Steven Spielberg, took genre elements, like horror, action, and science fiction, and added humor and heart into the mix.
Not to be confused with the 2009 documentary of the same name, Cropsey tells the story of a group of teens at a haunted summer camp that are tormented by an urban legend that dates all the way back to the Colonial era. The documentary does actually focus on an urban legend, a Boogeyman like figure who abducts children, so it does sound possible that the two share some connection, at least as far as inspiration goes. There, however, is where any similarities appear to stop, and the documentary moves on to focus on a real-life child kidnapper. It is not Amblin-esque at all.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Cropsey turns out and where the ultimate tone of the film falls. While the Amblin movies use genre trappings, they tend to soften them a bit, giving them a broader appeal. Richard Naing and Ian Goldberg, however, while they don’t have huge resumes, do appear to be firmly planted in the realm of straight up horror. They’ve worked together on The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a supernatural thriller that stars Emile Hirsch; the Friday the 13th reboot at Paramount; and Amazon bought an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth from the duo.
Not to say they can’t branch out beyond what they’ve done before and do something different, but given the subject matter the people involved, on the surface this sounds more like hardcore horror fare than horror-comedy, more Sleepaway Camp than Gremlins. Then again, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how all of this shakes out.
Cropsey is still obviously in the very early stages, but this will certainly be an interesting one to watch develop.