The Parcels’ music video for Withorwithout premiered last month. As the song plays, a Strangers-inspired home invasion takes place in which a husband (Carsten Norgaard) is killed and his wife (Milla Jovovich) is further assaulted, until the final twist. Benjamin Howdeshell, the video’s director, said he’s already been approached to turn Withorwithout into a feature, from none other than the producer of The Strangers himself!
“Roy Lee, who produced The Strangers and brought The Grudge and The Ring over from Japan, he e-mailed me the morning the video came out, I think because of this Bloody-Disgusting article that calls out Strangers and wanted to talk,” Howdeshell told us. “So we sat down and talked about ideas and what he thought would work and what he didn’t think would work. [Screenwriter] Mike [Doyle] and I are currently putting pitches together for him.”
Jovovich wants to reprise her role in the feature too. “It’s going to be starring Milla Jovovich,” she said.
Be sure to watch the seven-minute video before reading further, because the twist is key to the feature film adaptation. In the end of the video, it is revealed that there were no masked assailants. Jovovich’s character killed her husband and faked her injuries before calling the cops.
“Imagine a female version of Fight Club except based in a horror home invasion situation with the style of A Clockwork Orange,” Howdeshell said. “That’s essentially what we’re doing. If they’re going to do a female Hangover then we’re going to do a female-led Fight Club, except horror not fighting.”
The Clockwork Orange influence was already in the video, albeit more subtle than the overt Strangers homage.
“At the end, when the song comes back in and they’re dragging me into the living room, you get this very disturbing almost Clockwork Orange vibe from it that I feel came through so strong,” Jovovich said. “And from this really left field way because it’s not in your face directly ripping off anything. It’s just a feeling that you get of these privileged young white kids feeling that they can do whatever they want and trying to dominate people.”
Plus, The Strangers follows a long line of home invasion movies and they have the support of Roy Lee to continue down that path.
“He did not call me in his office to yell at me,” Howdeshell said. “He called me into the office to tell me how cool it was and I got a lot of cool information on The Strangers because The Strangers is a great film, but again, The Strangers was just a stepping off point for us. Obviously, if we would’ve done The Strangers we would’ve put bags over the guys’ heads, they would’ve been the killers. The Strangers is literally just the slasher movie we were using as reference.”
“It’s a home invasion,” Jovovich added. “It’s a husband and wife at home and people break in. Where we took the concept was a completely different place. It was glamorous, sophisticated, interesting, there was a twist that nobody saw coming. It definitely had wings.”
The news about a possible feature is even more rewarding for Jovovich, who executive produced the video, because her intention was always for the short to generate interest in a feature film.
“I felt like if I’m going to be involved with it, I really wanted it to be an idea that stood strong on its own and it would be a big like a short film but also like a concept that people would want to see the whole movie,” she said. “It would be one of those things where people would be bummed that there wasn’t more of it.”