Lionsgate has acquired Stephen Herman’s horror spec script The Culling with David F. Sandberg (Shazam!) attached to direct.
In The Culling, a troubled priest confines himself to a remote cabin in the middle of the woods where he attempts to make a last stand against the demon that terrorized his family when he was a child.
Sandberg & Lotta Losten will produce via their newly-formed Mångata production banner, alongside Good Fear Content. Chris Bender & Jake Weiner will produce for Good Fear with the company’s Scott Stoops to executive produce.
Lionsgate’s Aaron Janus is overseeing the project along with Aaron Edmonds.
Before taking on The Culling, Sandberg will direct the Shazam! sequel, which is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 4, 2022. “Shazam 2 is the next thing I’m directing (pending the continued existence of the world),” the filmmaker said on Twitter.
The first Shazam! movie opened in theaters on April 5, 2019 and grossed $364.6 million worldwide. It is an origin story that stars Zachary Levi as the titular DC super hero, along with Asher Angel as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong in the role of super-villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Sandberg directed from a script by Henry Gayden and Peter Safran produced.
In 2013, Sandberg and Losten released their short film, Lights Out, which became a viral hit with over 100 million views and quickly began making waves in Hollywood, where it was snatched up by New Line and Warner Bros. The feature film of the same name, directed by Sandberg and produced by James Wan, premiered in 2016.
Sandberg also collaborated with New Line and James Wan on his second feature, Annabelle: Creation, an installment in the successful The Conjuring franchise. This year, Sandberg and Losten released two horror shorts in the confines of their home during quarantine — Shadowed and Not Alone in Here — both of which were lauded by horror fans across the web. You can watch both shorts using the players below.
Stephen Herman grew up in the Bronx but currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He got his start shooting and editing music videos. Soon after he created a small indie production company called Broken Box, Inc which resulted in several short films that traveled the film festival circuit. His love for creating short films eventually morphed into writing feature scripts.
Herman’s early love for horror and sci-fi stemmed from Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone series, which inspired him to want to tell stories.
Sandberg is represented by CAA, Gotham Group and attorney Jeff Hynick of Jackoway Austen. Stephen Herman is represented by Good Fear and attorney Marios Rush. Robert Melnik negotiated the deals for Lionsgate.