The Blackcoat’s Daughter isn’t everyone’s cup of psychological-horror tea. Its persistent and steadily building atmosphere of dread is equal parts unsettling and bleak, pretty much the opposite of the jump-scares funhouse vibe that dominates the genre. Then came I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, which doubled down on the quiet, the tension, and the slow build—a film that may not be as scary, but practically rivals Ti West’s The House Of The Devil in terms of a movie-long exercise in waiting for the other shoe to drop. The one-two punch of atmospheric menace proved director Oz Perkins has a fondness for taking his time in delivering well-earned chills.
Now, Perkins might be ready to do it again, this time with a much more contemporary story. (Both of those previous films have an eerie ripped-out-of-time quality to them.) Deadline reports Perkins is set to write and direct an adaptation of Paul Tremblay’s novel A Head Full Of Ghosts, reworking a previous version of the screenplay. The book is about Merry, a woman whose family was very publicly ripped apart by her teenage sister’s mysterious illness 20 years earlier, when she’s approached by a journalist to tell the story in her own words.
That’s all perfectly fine and plenty vague. But it’s the “publicly ripped apart” aspect that makes it a more modern film: The sister, Marjorie, exhibits symptoms of mental illness, so the family’s born-again Catholic patriarch decides to stage an exorcism—and more than that, gets a popular reality TV show called Possession involved to document the whole thing. That speaks to themes of sickness, ambiguity, and the blurry line between psychological trauma and supernatural drama, all of which are right in Perkins’ wheelhouse. There’s no release date yet, but let’s hope it’s sooner than the endlessly delayed treatment The Blackcoat’s Daughter received.