Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a major form of escape in quarantine. The Nintendo Switch game is calming and non-competitive; it’s more of a hangout game than anything, where you build and design a community on your very own island. I load the game up whenever I’m on the brink of an anxiety attack or just need to get out of my own head for a moment. It’s a game where almost everyone is pleasant. And it’s full of bright colors, happy music, and cute animals.
But what if there were a sinister side to Animal Crossing? What if there were a frightening character trapped within the game looking for a way out? That’s the idea behind Julian Terry’s horror short Don’t Peek. The mini-film, which Terry made in quarantine, premiered at SXSW on March 15. You can also watch it on YouTube. It’s a terrifying and highly creative spin on a game that typically brings joy. And soon it will be a feature film.
According to Deadline, Timur Bekmambetov—director of films like Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter— is set to transform Don’t Peek into a full-length feature. Majd Nassif will produce, and creative executive Pavel Bozhkov will oversee the project.
Don’t Peek was filmed on a Blackmagic pocket camera in 2020. It stars Katie Cetta as a young woman who encounters a malevolent force within the game while playing Animal Crossing in bed. I don’t know about you, but the short absolutely terrified me. (Warning: If you’re watching with headphones, prepare for maximum impact.) And it definitely made me think twice about playing Animal Crossing alone in bed at night. Especially in the dark. No thank you.
I can’t wait to see how Don’t Peek functions as a feature-length film. And if Nintendo will give them full license to go wild within the world of Animal Crossing. Here’s hoping we get a super-scary film as an end result.