In non-surprising news, the female-centric network WE is continuing to assert its cable presence by ordering its second scripted series. In eye-bogglingly surprising news, that second scripted series will be a supernatural tale executive produced by two of modern horror’s most recognizable names: director Eli Roth (Hostel) and producer Jason “I’ll turn this $5 million budget into a $100 million bankroll” Blum (The Conjuring). The pair are teaming up for the demonic Southern thriller South of Hell, which was officially given the greenlight for an eight-episode season set to air at some point next year.
Set in Savannah, Georgia, South of Hell will center on 30-year-old Maria Abascal, a beautiful and deadly demon hunter – a description that just doesn’t show up on TV enough – who, with her brother David, is dedicated to destroying the malevolent beings that are taking over the bodies of other Savannah citizens. But Maria isn’t without fault of her own, as she constantly struggles to sate her own demon, named Abigail, who feeds on the evil that Maria draws out of others. It isn’t until Maria tries to rid herself of Abigail that she finds out exactly how dedicated the demon is to staying alive.
An interesting synopsis, surely, especially for WE tv, a network that has spent nearly all of its existence airing schmaltzy romantic comedies and, in recent years, reality series devoted to singer Toni Braxton and model Kendra Wilkinson. It’ll be great to get another show on the air with an ass-kicking woman standing front and center, assuming they choose to go with an established actress instead of just a wildly attractive newcomer who has gotten too old for The CW. My vote is for Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza.
According to Deadline, Roth will be directing at least the premiere episode of South of Hell, which was written by newcomer Matt Lambert. Rounding out the talent roster is Dexter creator James Manos Jr., who will serve as South of Hell’s showrunner and executive producer.
This is the second TV outing for Eli Roth, whose Netflix series Hemlock Grove is gearing up for Season 2. His long-awaited Hostel 2 follow-up The Green Inferno is hitting theaters on September 5, and he’s already in post-production on his next movie, the Keanu Reeves-starring home invasion thriller Knock Knock.
Jason Blum, who was one of the minds behind ABC’s failed found-footage thriller The River, also has the R.L. Stine novel adaptation Eye Candy coming to MTV, and executive produced Ryan Murphy’s AIDS drama The Normal Heart, which airs this Sunday on HBO. He has no less than 20 productions currently awaiting a future release, including The Purge: Anarchy, Jessabelle, Ouija, Amityville and Jem and the Holograms, to name but a few.
We can expect to see South of Hell airing at some point in 2015, following in what will hopefully be the successful footsteps of WE tv’s first original series, the law thriller The Divide. But I won’t count my demons before they’re hatched.