Israeli-born writer/director Oren Peli will be following up the surprise hit Paranormal Activity with an extraterrestrial spook job, Area 51, and according to a report by Variety, it looks like Paramount Pictures has picked up the U.S. distribution rights. In case you've been living under a rock for the past few months, Paranormal Activity is the little horror flick that could, mustering $106 million at the box office (thus far) from a Blair Witch Project-worthy $11,000 budget. Online support (mostly via Twitter) helped push the film into wide release. It was kind of a big deal.

For Peli's alien-themed follow-up, he had an exponential increase in budget to a whopping...$5 million. Principal photography has already wrapped about three weeks ago, so we can assume a release sometime in 2010, logically around September/October, when Paramount started seriously rolling out Paranormal Activity. Variety tells us the film uses the same "found footage" construct in Paranormal Activity, focusing on three teens who stumble into the famed Area 51 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

I haven't gotten around to seeing Paranormal Activity so I can't really weigh in on Peli as a writer or director, but regardless, it's heartening to see some original genre properties emerging, especially low-budget ones. The "found footage" thing is a little disappointing though. With a Paranormal Activity sequel in the works, you have to wonder if Peli might be overdoing this faux documentary shtick.
categories Movies, Sci-Fi