Alex Garland has already had an impressive career in his relatively short time in the industry. He’s directed two acclaimed films in Ex Machina and Annihilation, and recently developed the series Devs, which also got good – and sometimes confused – reviews.
However, thus far pretty much all his projects have been in the sci-fi genre, which usually requires some sort of budget. But Garland has done a 180 and is reportedly pushing ahead with a low budget horror movie set in the UK as his next project. He told film magazine Empire in its most recent issue:
“I wrote a low-budget horror movie, set in the UK. I don’t know if it’s unrealistic or not. Always at this particular moment, a film always feels unrealistic, but then somehow it works out”. Garland is still lining up financing for the as-yet-untitled movie, but is hoping to start production in the spring or summer.
Obviously Garland isn’t giving away plot details of any kind at this point, so we can only sit and wait. However we do know that this project came about because another series he had planned fell through, though not because of a network deciding against the show, or actors pulling out, but because of the real world.
Garland had reportedly been planning a series about the ineffectual and surface-level state of protests in recent years, but the idea went out the window after the events of the past summer, when millions of people around the world took to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd. Garland explained:
“At some point with civil disobedience, you have to start smashing stuff up. So I was writing about the need to smash stuff up”. But with what he saw flowing through the streets – mass protests of police injustice and palpable anger towards institutions that have festered racism and inequality – he felt the series was unnecessary, and pivoted to this film instead.
“I thought, ‘So now what I’m writing is pointless.’ In a good way. I almost felt glad, weirdly”.
So we’ll get to see Garland return to the silver screen instead. How he’ll adapt his style to a low-budget horror film will be fascinating to watch. Filmmakers who are used to a certain budget rarely deliberately decide to work on a smaller one, but Garland seems like a smart guy who doesn’t want to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing.
So don’t expect any androids in this film. We’ll wait for any concrete plot details to emerge.