Director Kevin Lewis is trading in evil animatronics for evil demons (not a bad swap, eh?). Variety confirmed Monday that the Willy’s Wonderland filmmaker has been compelled to captain The Accursed, a supernatural possession flick described as a spine-tingling combination of Sam Raimi, Dario Argento, and James Wan.
Rob Kennedy (Midnight Man) wrote the screenplay, which revolves around Elly (The Order’s Sarah Grey), a young woman who must vacate a life as a volunteer nurse abroad when her mother commits suicide back home. Overcome with guilt that manifests itself as hallucinatory visions of her late parent, Elly tries to escape the all-consuming grief by accepting a new job from the mysterious Alma (Mena Suvari).
The gig involves taking care of the comatose Ms. Ambrose (The Lords of Salem’s Meg Foster) in an isolated cabin. However, things take a turn for the supernatural when Elly realizes that her new charge not only practiced dark magic, but also had ties to her mother. Sarah Dumont (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) co-stars as Elly’s best friend, Beth, while Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect) takes on the role Mary Lynn, a witch hunter looking to exorcise the demonic curse that’s plagued her family for generations.
“The ability to work closely on a film rooted in demonic possession has been on my bucket list; it is a genre I am passionate about,” Lewis said in a statement provided to Variety. “This opportunity, to blend an incredible story with working with an exceptional female-driven cast is a tremendous moment for me as a director and horror lover. I am equally excited to be bringing back so many of the team from Willy’s Wonderland, like David Newbert (DP), Ryan Liebert (Editor) and Emoi (Composer).”
“We’re delighted to be working with Kevin and his team on this truly terrifying film. We were immediately convinced by the film’s potential and bringing this unique opportunity to the marketplace, which furthers our ambitions for Evolution Pictures and its growing slate of high concept genre films,” added executive producer Fred Hedman.
Rob Kennedy and Edward Kennedy executive-produce alongside Hedman. Producers are Marcus Englefield and George Lee, with Ann Carli occupying the title of co-producer. In a joint statement, Englefield and Lee stated that their goal is to make “an epic masterpiece to scare the socks off horror fans everywhere!”
Lewis — who nearly died of COVID earlier this year — made a splash in February with the wide release of Willy’s Wonderland, a cult classic in the making that received a dual rollout in select theaters and on VOD via Screen Media Films. With most theaters still closed at the time, the release dominated the pop culture conversation by virtue of how strange it was.
Penned by G.O. Parsons, the film stars Nicolas Cage (Pig) as a silent drifter who must fight off bloodthirsty animatronics while spending the night in a rundown family restaurant/arcade that recalls classic, kid-friendly establishments like ShowBiz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese.
“I feel like the movie is very self-aware, it knows what it is,” Lewis told Forbes Entertainment in March. “And I’m telling you, the cast and crew, we had a ball making it. People would show up with smiles on their faces in the morning and leave in the evening with them. So, we got along great and we knew what we were doing.
The project, which drew strong comparisons to the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game franchise, raked in a little over $418,000 at the North American box office.