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‘Evil Dead Rise’ Filmmaker Lee Cronin Tackling Horror Thriller ‘Thaw’ for New Line

By Borys Kit
March 29, 2023

Lee Cronin, director of New Line’s upcoming Evil Dead Rise, is reuniting with the studio to direct the original horror feature Thaw.

Cronin, who is riding high from Rise’s rapturous reception at this year’s SXSW, will also rewrite the current draft.

Van Toffler and David Gale of Gunpowder & Sky, as well as Adam Goldworm of Aperture, who produced the well-regarded drama My Friend Dahmer and has Final Girl Support Group set up at HBO, are producing.

Set years after the polar ice caps have melted and sea levels have risen, the story of Thaw centers on a group of survivors at sea searching for a new home. Their prayers are answered with the discovery of an inhabitable town, that is, until they encounter a new nightmare living just below the water’s surface.

Thaw was initially written by Jeremy Passmore, who developed the project as an original spec with Goldworm, his manager. It sold to Gunpowder & Sky, the media company that produced 50 States of Fright, and was jointly developed as a feature.

Passmore has some history with New Line, as he worked on the company’s Dwayne Johnson hit San Andreas with his writing partner Andre Fabrizio. (He’s also known for co-writing the script for the 2012 remake of Red Dawn.)

Cronin’s hiring shows how much faith New Line has in the rising filmmaker’s talent. He grew up in a seaside village in Ireland and made his mark with shorts, including supernatural chiller Ghost Train, which won the Méliès d’Argent for best European fantastic short film.

His debut feature, The Hole in the Ground, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 to critical acclaim. Released by A24, the film landed him a Saturn Award nomination for breakthrough director.

Evil Dead Rise was originally intended for HBO Max before excellent scores at an early test screening and an overwhelming response to the trailer at CineEurope last year put the film on track for a theatrical release. The movie’s opening is April 21. It currently sits at 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, an impressive feat for a blood-soaked and long-running franchise horror installment.

Cronin is repped by CAA, MGMT Entertainment, Linda Seifert Management and attorney Jeff Hynick. Passmore is repped by Aperture, Verve and Eclipse Law.