It is the second work by Almuslim to be adapted by the high-end production arm of Riyadh-based media giant MBC Group, after his fantasy Rise Of The Witches about two rival covens in ancient Arabia.
The work revolves around a studious young man who is given a book about the existence of a second world by a mysterious sheikh, the reading of which sets in motion a series of terrifying events.
Zeinab Abu Alsamh, who is general manager of the Saudi arm of MBC Studios, announced the project in an industry panel on different aspects of developing IP at the Red Film Festival.
“It’s a very exciting project and has a very, very, very big fan base. That’s what make it exciting and scary at the same time,” she said.
Rise Of The Witches has been billed as Saudi Arabia’s biggest adventure-fantasy series to date.
That adaptation was done by U.K. writer and actor Charlie Higson with Saudi co-writers Nora Aboushousha and Sara Al Ghabra. The female focused tale shot in Saudi Arabia‘s new shooting hub Neom in 2022 and is currently in post-production.
Abu Alsamh told Deadline that Khawf was in the early stages of development and that a team of local and MENA region Arabic-speaking writers was working on a draft script.
MBC Studios has also recently adapted Ibraheem Abbas’s cult fantasy work HWJN, set between the world of humans and djinns in contemporary Jeddah.
The joint project with Abu Dhabi-based Image Nation and MENA region exhibition giant VOX Cinemas opened the Red Sea Film Festival this year, making history as the first Arabic language feature to open the event.
Abu Alsamh said that all the works spoke to MBC Studios’ ambition to create more YA-focused work.
“It’s a coincidence that it’s all fantasy but the common denominator is that we’re trying to focus on young adults, and they’re into fantasy. That genre works with them,” she told the panel.
Other upcoming productions on the MBC Studios slate include Rupert Wyatt’s Desert Warrior, set in 7th Century Arabia and starring Anthony Mackie.
The production, which shot in Neom in 2021, is currently in post-production with plans for a market launch in early 2024.