'In The Earth': Ben Wheatley's Pandemic Horror Film Features The Forest Coming To Life

Filmmaker Ben Wheatley has been taking a little bit of heat lately for his recent directing choices, whether it was his slightly underwhelming adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca or tackling Warner Bros.' giant shark sequel The Meg 2. But for those who wistfully yearn for the days in which Wheatley was making small scale genre movies, here's some good news: the director has just wrapped production on In the Earth, a new horror film that's heading to theaters next year. Get the details below.

Today, production and distribution company Neon sent out a press release confirming that Wheatley has wrapped production on In the Earth, a horror film he wrote and directed and one which "marks a return to his genre roots akin to his groundbreaking Kill List." That last part will be especially exciting to anyone who has seen Wheatley's 2011 horror masterpiece, and who may have been scratching their heads about the director's recent shift toward more traditional studio filmmaking.

The new movie was fully completed during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The press release included the first image from the film, seen above, as well as the movie's official description:

As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a routine equipment run. Through the night, their journey becomes a terrifying voyage through the heart of darkness, the forest coming to life around them.

I don't know about you, but I'm already feeling a little overloaded with pandemic-themed content and we've just seen the tip of the iceberg. But a virus-themed movie from Wheatley doesn't sound nearly as cringe-worthy as several of these other projects that have been announced that use the pandemic as a backdrop – probably because I know that he has the potential to scare the ever-loving shit out of audiences without using our fears of the virus as a crutch. The forest coming alive? Man, I can't wait to see what he does with this. It sounds exactly like the palette cleanser hardcore Wheatley fans have been looking for.

Joel Fry, who played one of the friends in Yesterday and the deceitful Hizdahr zo Loraq on Game of Thrones, stars in this film, and he's joined by Ellora Torchia (The SplitMidsommar), Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake), and Reece Shearsmith (Inside No. 9, Psychoville).

Neon plans to release In the Earth in theaters sometime in 2021.