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The Next Great Horror Director Will Come From Reality Television

‘Night Vision’ will find 13 lucky hopefuls and give them the opportunity of a lifetime.
By  · Published on October 4th, 2018

Anyone who says that Dwayne Johnson is the busiest man in Hollywood needs to pay attention to James Wan. Every single week, without fail, we share news of yet another project he’s involved in. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, either. Wan is well on his way to becoming one of the most prominent producers in the entire industry, and that’s on top of directing his own blockbuster hits.

But he’s also one of the good guys, and he’s using his power to propel other people’s careers as he continues to ascend. As we’ve discussed in the past, Wan is all about plucking filmmakers from obscurity and making them household names. I mean, he just passed directorial duties for The Conjuring 3 on to rising talent Michael Chaves, whose debut feature-length, Curse of La Llorona, is currently in post-production. Talk about having faith in someone. But if anyone is going to pass their billion dollar franchise on to a newcomer, it’s James Wan and his New Line cohorts.

For his next discovery venture, Wan is re-teaming with New Line Cinema and Stage 13 for the reality series Night Vision. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will follow 13 budding horror filmmakers as they compete to win a development deal over at New Line. Their mission: to create the scariest short films possible and impress a panel made up of directors, writers, producers, and executives. Who will be up to the task?

Check out what Wan had to say below:

With Wan and New Line involved, their ambition to find a future horror master is probably sincere. Unlike most people who get involved in reality shows, their track record for giving unknown talents massive opportunities based on the quality of their individual work says a lot. David F. Sandberg, who went from short films to Annabelle: Creation and now Shazam! in the space of a couple of years, is living proof of that. Chavez also looks set to follow in those footsteps.

For all reality television’s faults sometimes, it’s also a great avenue for both discovering talent and gaining exposure if you have it. Just appearing on one of these shows can boost a career tenfold. In this case, I have no doubt that whoever wins this deal with New Line will be given some life-changing opportunities provided their ideas are good. Fans of The Conjuring franchise should tune in to this one as it’s possible that the winner will helm one of its multiple spinoffs someday.

This isn’t the first time an idea like this has been carried out, though. Project Greenlight, which aired sporadically between 2001 and 2015, followed first-time filmmakers on their quest to directing their first feature. Furthermore, in 2007, Steven Spielberg produced a series called On the Lot, an elimination competition which aimed to find the next breakout director and give them a chance to work for DreamWorks Pictures. The winner, Justin Gullett, didn’t go on to make the next Norbit, unfortunately, but the stars just didn’t align in that situation. Hopefully, this show and its winner experience more success than On the Lot did.

Reality competition shows are tricky to pull off, and a niche one that focuses on horror directors probably won’t attract a wide mainstream audience. However, that could be to the show’s benefit as they won’t have to rely on wacky personalities and glorified karaoke performers to attract gazillions of viewers. Let the talent do their own thing and the audience will find them eventually. That’s because he or she will probably direct a supernatural chiller in the next couple of years — produced by Wan, of course — that will likely become a big hit.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.