By Sahil Patel
Horror movie producer Neal Edelstein (“The Ring,” “Mulholland Drive”) raised some eyebrows in 2013 when he distributed his latest project, “Haunting Melissa,” entirely on the iPhone and iPad.
Edelstein’s production company, Hooked Digital Media, had a unique release strategy for the film, which centers on a teenage girl who believes her recently deceased mother is haunting her. The entire story was told in installments of varying lengths, distributed to downloaders of the app via push notifications at what felt like random moments — a conscious effort by the producers to maintain an element of surprise to the story.
“When we first imagined ‘Haunting Melissa,’ our intention was to create a world that could be endlessly explored on a terrifying and engaging journey with Melissa,” said Edelstein. “The response to Haunting Melissa and our new distribution platform has been overwhelming.” In fact, the film netted more than 5.5 million viewers, according to Hooked Digital Media.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the company just started principal photography on the sequel, “Haunting Melissa 2,” in Calgary. The sequel picks up a month after the events of the first film, and is penned by best-selling author Andrew Klavan. Edelstein produces and directs the cast, which is headlined once again by Kassia Warshawski in the titular role.
Like its predecessor, the sequel will also be available exclusively on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It will incorporate Hooked Digital’s Dynamic Story Elements technology, which introduces new elements to a story on repeat viewing.
Release is targeted for later this year.