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Vertical Movies Are Coming Whether Anyone Actually Wants to Watch Them

Russian director and producer Timur Bekmambetov believes the future of film is vertical.
Photo: Getty Images

Smartphone cameras have become so good that they’ve turned us all into amateur directors. But because social networks like Snapchat and Instagram encourage vertical videos, we don’t shoot the horizontal footage that makes sense for, say, a movie. That’s fine when an Instagram Story video is only 15 seconds long. But do you really want to watch an entire movie shot vertically? We’re about to find out.

Russian director and producer Timur Bekmambetov, best known for films like Searching, Night Watch, and Hardcore Henry, is producing the first “vertical blockbuster movie,” called V2. Escape From Hell, according to Deadline.

The World War II action flick is based on real events involving a Soviet pilot who hijacks a plane to flee a German concentration camp. With a $10 million budget, it doesn’t quite sound like a blockbuster in the making, but Bekmambetov has churned out some hits. Searching, starring John Cho, raked in $75 million and has a respectable 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Bekmambetov loves to play with format. Hardcore Henry was filmed entirely from a first-person perspective. Unfriended and its sequel were shot as MacBook screencasts. Those films weren’t necessarily good, but they were interesting experiments in a sea of rebooted franchises and Marvel movies.

“Visually, the film is built around a person—this is a story about a man standing

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