Visionary horror writer-director Christopher Smith (Creep, Black Death and Severance, and HBO’s 2023 “Spy/Master”) will direct Spider Island, it was announced today by Protagonist Pictures’ CEO Dave Bishop. The film is written by Christopher Jolley (The Price We Pay with Stephen Dorff, Whisper) and David Quantick (HBO’s “Veep,” “The Thick of It” starring Peter Capaldi). Vertigo Films will produce the film, and Protagonist Pictures is handling worldwide rights, launching sales ahead of the upcoming American Film Market.

Killer concept horror comedy Spider Island follows a group of social media influencers going to the launch party of a new luxury resort on a beautiful island. With deadly spiders.

The hybrid-genre film is produced by London-based Vertigo Films, the award-winning studio behind the BAFTA nominated Monsters, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Scoot McNairy, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson with Tom Hardy, the Oscar nominated Ajami, and number one box office hits, StreetDance 3D and The Sweeney.  Vertigo has also produced high-end TV shows including “Britannia,” “Bulletproof” and “A Town Called Malice” for Sky, and “Mammals” for Amazon.

The state-of-the-art VFX will be handled by AUTOMATIK VFX, the visual effects studio responsible for the brilliant creature design on Monsters Dark Continent, “Game of Thrones,” “Doctor Who” and “The Wheel Of Time.”  Seb Barker (Amazon Studio’s “The Wheel of Time,” BAFTA nominee The Girl With All the Gifts) will serve as VFX supervisor.

“For a while now, I’ve been searching for the perfect project to create another horror that strikes a balance between laughs and screams, with the potential to truly stand out,’’ says Smith. “The script for Spider Island checks all the boxes, and I can’t wait to bring the audiences on that rollercoaster with me!”

“We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with world class distributors on this wild concept straight from the minds of some of the best genre creatives in the industry,” said Protagonist’s CEO, Dave Bishop. “Christopher’s remarkable ability to blend humor and terror will undoubtedly provide the perfect movie experience for horror-comedy enthusiasts around the world. We cannot wait to see Spider Island come to life…metaphorically that is.”

“We are thrilled to be working with Chris and serving up equal measures of scares and laughs all set on a magically exotic island. It will be a cinematic feast for all the senses!” added Allan Niblo, Co-founder, Vertigo Films.

Production is set to begin early next year in Mauritius. While Spider Island will feature a multi-national cast, it will have a distinct British flavor that pushes boundaries of black comedy, while playfully subverting stereotypes.

About Protagonist Pictures

Protagonist Pictures is a sales, finance, and production company with a proven track record in outstanding films and commercial successes. Based in the UK, the company handles films from around the world, always maintaining a strong focus on filmmakers with exceptional vision and storytelling skills. Current sales titles include Unicorns, directed by Sally El Hosaini and James Krishna Floyd, and starring Ben Hardy and newcomer Jason Patel,  Eli Craig’s highly anticipated horror adaptation Clown in a Cornfield,  Rebecca Miller’s She Came to Me, starring Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei and Joanna Kulig, which opened the 2023 Berlinale, Dario Russo’s darkly comedic folktale The Fox, starring Morfydd Clark and Jai Courtney, Raymond De Felitta’s Artist in Residence starring Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia and Josh Hutcherson, Peter Craig’s Wild Four O’Clocks starring Michelle Pfeiffer, the underwater thriller The Dive by Maximilian Erlenwein, BAFTA Award-winning writer-director Mark Jenkin’s psychological-horror Enys Men, which had its worldwide premiere in Directors’ Fortnight, and War Pony, the directorial debut from Riley Keough and Gina Gammell, that had its worldwide premiere in Un Certain Regard and won the Camera D’Or.

Other titles include Phyllis Nagy’s Call Jane, starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver, which premiered in Sundance and Berlin in 2022, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas starrer Official Competition, by directing duo Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, which premiered in Venice in 2021, the 2021 Nordic supernatural thriller The Innocents which premiered in Cannes at Un Certain Regard, Censor, the opening night film of the Midnight section at Sundance 2021, directed by Prano Bailey-Bond and starring Niamh Algar – both Screen International 2018 Stars of Tomorrow alumni, Ben Wheatley’s In The Earth, starring Joel Fry, Ellora Torchia, Hayley Squires, and Reece Shearsmith – also a Sundance 2021 title, Limbo, directed by Ben Sharrock and starring Amir El-Masry, Saint Maud, from Screen’s 2018 Stars of Tomorrow writer/director Rose Glass and starring Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle, Sound of Metal, directed by Darius Marder, starring Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke.