“Spy Kids” and “Predators” producer Elizabeth Avellan has acquired remake rights to supernatural thriller “The Whistler,” pacting with production-distribution Alief which is world premiering “Zana” at Toronto.
Gisberg Bermúdez, who co-wrote, directed, co-produced and edited the original movie, will now helm the English-language adaptation.
Aiming to launch an English-language franchise, Avellán will produce the remake through her company Eya Productions; Bermudez’s La Rue Films and Alief co-produce.
“The Whistler” is set to open in U.S. theaters on Sept. 6 via Dark Star Productions. This will be followed by a VOD release via Uncork’d Entertainment. The original feature is described by Alief as “‘The Conjuring’ meets ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’” in an “elliptical” retelling of the myth. It was inspired by a Venezuelan/Colombian folklore bogeyman whose presence is announced by his whistling. In Bermúdez’s Spanish-language original, a father seeks to unearth the origin of the Whistler’s curse in order to halt the gradual possession of his daughter by the avenging entity.
“As a six- year old sitting around a campfire one summer in Venezuela, I was introduced to ‘The Whistler,’” said Avellan, who is Venezuelan.
“The eerie powerful sound of that whistle from afar that gets closer and closer still fills my imagination and grips me with wonder and fear to this day.”
Avellan aims “to create a series of films about “The Whistler” with director Gisberg Bermudez’ style of storytelling, marrying images, sound and music in different settings,” she added.
The inspiration for the English-language remake is “a combination of great American classics and horror films from Asia,” said Bermúdez, citing “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” along with “The Wailing” and “Bedeviled and promising “intrinsic elevated horror and suspense.”
He added: “‘The Whistler’ is my new representation of evil, feared and loved by spectators but always inviting [them] to know more about his depth as a character.”
“The Whistler” held its international premiere in December at the opening night of Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Fantastic Film Festival where it won Best Ibero-American Feature. “The Whistler” DVD was released Sept 2nd in UK retailers via Matchbox Films.
Produced by Crossing Bridges Films (Kosovo), On Film (Albania) and Alief, psychological drama “Zana,” the feature debut of Kosova’s Antoneta Kastrati, world premieres in Toronto’s Discovery section on Saturday. Alief handles world sales.