It was only matter of time before the “handicam” subgenre crept over the boundary from Blair Witch horror and Cloverfield sci-fi to superhero fare. The thinking is still the same – something supernatural is rendered quasi-realistic thorugh drawing attention to the presence of a camera. I’m still a little sceptical about the format overall, though I have quite enjoyed many of its applications.
The pioneering picture in what is likely to become a little pile-up, will be something called Chronicle. A very witty title, I think [UPDATE: Even now I’ve edited it to take out an erroneous S]. The film’s screenplay has been written by Max Landis, son of John, and it will be directed by Josh Trank, a first timer who also has a filmmaker for a father. Trank Sr. is Richard, an Oscar winning documentarian rewarded for 1997’s The Long Way Home and who has worked tirelessly to document stories of the Holocaust and it’s aftermath.
We’ve got a basic premise for Chronicle as floated by Heat Vision:
The story focuses on the lives of three Portland teens that become exposed to a mysterious substance in the woods, and, as a result, begin to develop incredible powers. They work together to hone their skills for fun, until personal and family problems begin to turn them against one another.
I’m going to assume that the cameraman character will be one of the “goodies”. That would be convenient, if not also very conventional. If I’m wrong, then all the better.
Landis’ previously produced screenplays both became TV pictures in the Masters of Horror and Fear Itself anthology series. They’re really not too bad at all (though John Landis’ Family was the… er… family’s best contribution to that project), and I’m certainly keen to see how Chronicles shapes up. By means of research, I’m off to seek out Trank’s 2007 web series The Kill Point and you can watch his short, Stabbing at Leia’s 22nd Party, right now.