When Kazakh-Russian director Timur Bekmambetov was producing the 2014 horror film Unfriended, a movie told entirely on Skype screens in which a group of high school kids are haunted by a friend who’d been bullied and—they thought—committed suicide, he was constantly asked the same question: Why didn’t any of the characters, who, one by one, are freakishly tortured by the former friend, shut down their computers and go into each other’s homes?
Back then, of course, the question was a natural one. Now, Bekmambetov says, “No one asks that.”
Thanks to COVID-19, leaving your house and going to visit someone else, even to save their life, is a potentially fatal risk. Indeed, today no one would ever wonder why characters in a film never physically interact with one another. After all, that’s essentially what life has looked like for almost a year now.
But while the pandemic has been devastating to Hollywood—shutting down productions and causing major studios to shift…