Just when you think the “found footage” horror genre has reached the end of its rope, Paranormal Activity 3 rakes in north of $100 million at the domestic box office, sending studios into scramble mode to unearth the next hot property.

Universal grabbed the rights to a spec script from Bryan Bertino, writer-director of The Strangers (with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman), according to Deadline. Very little is known about the treatment other than the fact that it once circulated the town under the working title of Mockingbird, though that now has been dropped and a new title has yet to be attached.

Also absent from the project is a director, as Deadline says Bertino will produce the film but likely not helm.

The director shouldn’t be the issue. What matters most is the hook. The “found footage” genre has explored multiple avenues, some more realistic than others. And it seems that the more grounded the premise in a horror movie of this sort, the easier it is for an audience to buy into the concept and, as a result, be scared out of their wits. For instance, very few cared that there might be lethal creatures on the moon (located roughly 238,855 miles away from our planet), so Apollo 18 tanked. But the Paranormal Activity franchise – perhaps the Godfather trilogy of the “found footage” genre – takes the chills through our homes and into our bedrooms. It’s harder to sleep at night when you think someone’s standing over you. Watching. Take note, Mr. Bertino.

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