Jennifer Reeder Announces Next Feature Film
February 12, 2020 by Screenmag
When DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS director Scott Derrickson left the project due to creative differences, IGN writer Jesse Schedeen suggested Chicago filmmaker Jennifer Reeder as a potential candidate to step in and helm the Marvel Studios blockbuster, proposing that Reeder "could be the next Taika Waititi - an indie darling with a distinctive voice who breathes new life into a big Hollywood franchise." Though the job ultimately went to SPIDER-MAN and EVIL DEAD director Sam Raimi, Reeder appreciated the nod, and nevertheless finds herself with plenty to keep her busy this year, namely her next feature, PERPETRATOR, set to shoot this summer.
"A coming of age CAT PEOPLE"
PERPETRATOR is a coming-of-age feminist horror story about an unruly teen girl named Jonny who is sent to live with her maternal grandmother following an amateur crime and sex spree. In lieu of familial affection, grandmother casts a spell that will force Jonny to actualize and redefine the true meaning of Girls Gone Wild.
"This film, in particular, takes on the myth of the out-of-control teen girl – the wild child," Reeder told SCREEN. "In this story, she has agency in her lawlessness and embraces her abject nature. This film is dark but feminine... a nuanced noir... a grrrl power take on modern horror and very much aligned with my previous scripts and films."
New People, New Places
Reeder finds herself with new collaborators for PERPETRATOR, as she will be teaming up with Paris-based sales, production, and finance company WTFilms (aka What The Films). Gregory Chambet and his WTFilms team were the foreign sales company with Reeder's last film, the critically acclaimed KNIVES AND SKIN which premiered at Berlin. When Reeder mentioned her next project would be "a coming-of-age CAT PEOPLE," Chambet, who focuses primarily on genre, edgy independent movies, was hooked, and promptly committed to producing the project.
The film will also present a change of scenery for Reeder. Having filmed her work primarily in the Midwest, Reeder will likely head south for this feature. "I'd love to make another film in Chicago, and it could be a combination of shooting interiors here then exteriors there... but with New Orleans, in terms of its architecture, the setting is a bit better for a genre film, a bit more goth, which is what I need it to be."
PERPETRATOR centers on Jonny (Jonquil) Baptiste, on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and totally lawless. She’s an only child living in near poverty with her single father and subsidizing the small-town household income by selling stolen goods and intimate favors. When Jonny’s outraged father can no longer afford to care for her both financially and emotionally, he sends her to New Orleans to live with her estranged and reclusive maternal grandmother Hilde. Hilde enrolls Jonny in a private school where she should get the structure and discipline she needs. Jonny fumbles her way through the new environment which is buzzing with the mysterious disappearance of several teen girls. The night of her birthday, Jonny is overcome with new abilities - she can change at will into someone else... or something else.
Reeder's script is nearly locked, and she plans to film in New Orleans this summer. Reeder is just now beginning to put together the crew and cast, and looking forward to delving fully into the horror genre with this feature.
"PERPETRATOR is very much a genre film and I am excited to lean way into that realm of gushing blood and jump scares. This film will still be nuanced and good-looking like KNIVES AND SKIN but very much a horror story."
"This is a significant moment for women working in genre films," Reeder concluded. "Women are very well suited for horror in particular. We have a personal relationship to fear from a very young age and we are able to bleed for days and not die."