When director Ryuhei Kitamura hit the scene in 2000 with his low budget zombie kung fu hybrid, Versus, critics were quick to announce the arrival of a new talent on the Japanese movie scene, and it was easy to see why. Versus had a certain energy about it that belied its humble budget, and it was great to see Japan once again returning to the fight movies that guys like Sonny Chiba and Yasuaki Kurata had made famous during the 70’s.
However, given access to bigger budgets and brought into the fold of the Japanese studio system, Kitamura seemed to lose his creative voice in the movies that came out after, whether it be mis-fires like Alive, or trying to put his own spin on one of Japan’s most recognizable icons with Godzilla: Final Wars. In the late 2000’s he decided to leave Japanese shores and head to the US, during which time he made Midnight Meat Train and No One Lives, both serviceable horror thrillers, before finally returning once again to Japan with the 2014 release of Lupin the Third.
But now Kitamura is back in full-on Midnight Meat Train/No One Lives mode with an upcoming, English-language horror flick titled Downrange, which is being described as “a minimalist thriller with maximum tension.”
Currently in production, Downrange stars Kelly Connaire, Stephanie Pearson, Rod Hernandez-Farella, Anthony Kirlew, Alexa Yeames and Jason Tobias. It’s penned by Joey O’Bryan, who is known for writing Fulltime Killer and co-writing the upcoming martial arts extravaganza Triple Threat.
According to AITH, here’s what you can expect from the film’s plot: Six college students who are carpooling cross-country when one of their tires blows out on a desolate stretch of country road. Getting out to fix the flat, they quickly discover that this was no accident. The tire was shot out. With their vehicle incapacitated, the group is pinned down and mercilessly attacked by an unseen assailant as they desperately attempt to find a way to escape.
Downrange is expected to release early next year. As always, we’ll keep you updated as we hear more. For now, don’t miss the film’s Trailer: