While it is certainly the case that a female-led film is always welcome, it is somewhat unfortunate that most supernatural thrillers follow the tried and tested formula of having the sinister supernatural aspects centre on a woman. Whether it be demonic possession (Drag Me To Hell, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose), hauntings (Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, Amityville: The Awakening, It Follows) or psychic phenomenon (Premonition, The Gift) – women just seem to be Hollywood magnets for unexplained forces of darkness. Now we have another title to add to that list, and it is Black Lung.
Black Lung is a supernatural thriller that is set to star Amanda Seyfried (A Million Way To Die In The West) and Theo James (Divergent), with Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) on board as executive producer. It is the feature-length directorial debut of short-film writer-director Chase Palmer (Neo-Noir), and centres on a young miner’s wife who experiences a terrifying premonition about an impending mining disaster. She manages to save her husband from certain death, but in so doing, her actions bring her under suspicion, and she faces the scorn of a community traumatized by a devastating mine explosion, and the subsequent burial of local miners. Unsurprisingly, her newly discovered abilities also make her suddenly aware of a dangerous force working within the mountain.
Admittedly, neither the premise nor the casting could be characterized as groundbreaking. However, it is the presence of Cary Fukunaga that draws the eye to this project. Fukunaga’s work on the first season of True Detective – as a director and producer – really was a tour de force, and meant that any future project catching his eye would inevitably catch the eye of audiences, too. Since the project is currently being shopped to foreign buyers at the Berlin European Film Market, it is likely to grab the attention of distributors in short order – ensuring that we will all be able to cast an eye over Chase Palmer’s Black Lung once it has filmed this summer.