Summer jobs for high schoolers are getting a lot cooler.
IndieWire has confirmed that Kane Parsons, the 17-year-old creator of “The Backrooms” YouTube series, has been tapped by A24, Chernin Entertainment, 21 Laps Entertainment, and Atomic Monster to direct a feature-length adaptation of the series. The film is being written by “DMZ” creator Roberto Patino, who will also serve as an executive producer on the project. Production will take place during Parson’s summer vacation.
“The Backrooms” became a viral phenomenon in 2022 when a YouTube user named Kane Pixels (which has been revealed to be an alias for Parsons), uploaded a nine-minute found footage video of people exploring creepy empty rooms. The video capitalized on the Internet’s fascination with liminal spaces, a.k.a. spaces that exist adjacent to our reality without being a part of it. The initial video received an overwhelmingly positive response, with viewers praising the suspenseful ambiance and creative special effects. To date, the first “Backrooms” video has been viewed over 44 million times on YouTube.
Parsons followed that with 15 other “Backrooms” videos that have been uploaded to his YouTube channel over the past year. The YouTube series has gradually expanded the “Backrooms” mythology, creating a more linear narrative story to accompany the initial found footage videos. The series has amassed over 100 million views in total while gradually building a cult following of Internet users who like to speculate about the franchise’s lore.
“The Backrooms” movie will be the latest film in the rapidly-growing niche of film adaptations of scary viral Internet stories. The film “Slender Man” from director Sylvain White was similarly based on the Internet’s original viral creepypasta before ultimately receiving a theatrical release in 2018. Considering how many horror careers were launched with found footage projects designed to look real, it’s hardly surprising to see Hollywood continuing to mine the creepy corners of the Internet for material.
No plot details or release date have been announced — though it’s probably safe to assume that the director’s school schedule will prevent extensive reshoots. Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen, and Dan Levine are producing for 21 Laps Entertainment alongside James Wan, Michael Clear, Judson Scott, and Alayna Glasthal for Atomic Monster.
Additional reporting by Brian Welk.
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