I enjoyed Neighbors when it came out earlier this year, and it looks like the decision-makers at 20th Century Fox did, too. The studio has just bought a horror comedy pitch called Thrill Ride from Neighbors writers Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, which they’re looking to direct. Based on an original idea by Cohen and O’Brien, the comedy/horror script will be written by Peter Warren. Deadline has the story, and I’ll let them fill you in on the plot details:
It takes place at a particularly cruel high school where bullying has become the norm. At Senior Night, the school rents out an amusement park for the entire senior class where everyone rides the rides and plays the games as much as they want with no lines and no rules. The only drawback: students start dying on the rides in elaborate ways. All the exits are sealed, and there is a killer on the loose turning all the rides into ways of punishing the bullies and the so called bad people at school. Kids from all different cliques have to band together to figure out who the killer is and how to stop them.
Reminds me a little of Final Destination 3, which featured a bunch of kids dying gruesome deaths on a roller coaster (although since they were actually saved from that fate, most of them ended up dying in other ridiculous ways). But Cohen and O’Brien have proven that they know what audiences like, and it’s always interesting when writing teams make the jump to directing. Two high-profile examples that immediately come to mind are Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (who won an Oscar for writing The Descendants and then wrote and directed a great indie called The Way, Way Back) and Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who wrote Horrible Bosses and are directing the upcoming Vacation sequel/reboot), so it’ll be interesting to see how Cohen and O’Brien compare with their directorial debut when all of this shakes out.
This is the kind of high-concept project that could go in a couple of different directions depending on the casting and tone, so we’ll see if these guys are able to wrangle any young talent from the Apatow roster (maybe Neighbors star Jerrod Carmichael? He might still be young enough to pull off a believable high-schooler), and maybe we’ll see some higher profile actors playing employees at the theme park. We’ll reserve judgment until we know more, but I’ll mark this one down as “promising” for now.
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