Pulsar Content, XYZ Films Board Japanese Horror Film ‘Bloat‘ From ’Searching’ Producer Timur Bekmambetov (EXCLUSIVE)

Pulsar Content and XYZ Films have teamed up to handle sales on “Bloat,” a horror movie starring Ben McKenzie (“Gotham”) and Bojana Novakovic (“Devil”).

The movie is set up as an international co-production between Timur Bekmambetov’s banner Bazelevs, whose credits include “Wanted,” “Unfriended,” “Searching” and “Resurrected,” France’s Pulsar Content (“The Deep House”) and Japanese production company flag Co., Ltd.

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Written and directed by up-and-coming Tokyo-based horror filmmaker Pablo Absento (“Shi”), “Bloat” tells the story of a mother (Novakovic) and two sons who are vacationing in Japan. The father of the family (McKenzie), who is a military officer, is away stationed in Turkey. During their stay outside Tokyo, their younger son almost drowns in a lake. Soon after the accident, the parents realize that something is wrong with their boy.

Filming began in New York earlier this year and wrapped up in Tokyo in October. The post-production is set to be completed by mid-2023.

Absento’s credits include the short “Shi” which played at several festivals, including FilmQuest, and was acquired by Crypt TV. Absento also directed several episodes for “SMA Horror” (“Smartphone Horror”), a new show produced by Takashi Shimizu, the creator of the original horror franchise “The Grudge.”

“Bloat” is the first film in the Japanese horror story genre that is produced in the screenlife format pioneered by Bekmambetov – when the entire action unfolds on the screen of the mobile devices of the characters.

Bekmambetov previous screenlife B.O. hits include “Unfriended” which grossed more than $65 million on a budget of $1 million, and “Searching” which grossed $75 million. Sony Pictures will be releasing “Missing,” the second installment of Bekmambetov’s “Searching” franchise, next February.

“Bloat” marks the second collaboration between Bekmambetov’s production banner Bazelevs and Pulsar Content. They previously teamed on Egor Baranov’s “Resurrected” starring Dave Davis (“The Vigil”) which is co-produced by Logical Pictures and will be screened to buyers at AFM.

Besides “Resurrected” and “Bloat,” Pulsar Content’s slate at AFM also  includes Anissa Bonnefont’s sexy thriller “La Maison” which Wild Bunch acquired for several territories and Edouard Salier’s “Tropic” which premiered at Fantastic Fest and Sitges.

XYZ Films’s current projects include “Blackberry” from director Matt Johnson, which just sold to IFC Films, “The Wasp” starring Naomie Harris and Natalie Dormer, “Ash,” starring Tessa Thompson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “The Black Kaiser” starring Mads Mikkelsen, “Hounds of War” starring Frank Grillo, Robert Patrick and Rhona Mitra, and Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead film “Something in the Dirt” which premiered at Sundance 2022. The banner’s current slate includes Nic Cassavetes’ “God is a Bullet” starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe and Jamie Foxx, among others.

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