Matthew Holmes.

Bronte Pictures has begun pre-production in regional NSW on Matthew Holmes’ Fear Below, a period shark thriller set to star English actress Hermione Corfield alongside Jake Ryan, Josh McConville, and Jacob Junior Nayinggul.

Co-written by Holmes and Gregory Moss, the story follows a team of professional divers hired to locate a sunken car from a river in 1940s Australia.

After being thwarted by a large deadly bull shark hunting in the waters, the divers soon discover they are working for ruthless criminals trying to recover their stolen gold bullion, with the bank robbers proving to be as deadly and treacherous as what lurks beneath the surface.

The shoot will take place on the Murray River at Moama, with Bronte Pictures CEO Blake Northfield producing alongside Odin’s Eye Entertainment CEO Michael Favelle, who is also handling rest-of-world sales for the project.

Multiple territory sales of the film were confirmed earlier this year, with first bites going to Signature Films (United Kingdom), ProgramStore (France), A Contracorriente Films (Spain), and Just Media (Benelux), while several other minor and major territories under negotiation. Studiocanal is on board as the ANZ distributor.

Fear Below marks the second collaboration for Holmes and Bronte Pictures, following Holmes’ psychological revenge drama, The Cost, due for release in 2023.

Speaking about his upcoming project, the director said his intention was to echo the style of adventure films such as Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark, including the use of practical effects over CGI.

“With its fresh setting and a cast of highly memorable characters led by a strong female lead, we are dedicated to delivering a highly original movie in an overly-familiar genre – one that really stands out from the crowd,” he said.

Northfield said Fear Below was a “really exciting project” to be involved with.

“Matthew Holmes is such a unique director with so much talent, it’s been an absolute joy to put this film together with him,” he said.

“With two period films under his belt in Twin Rivers and The Legend of Ben Hall, he’s the perfect director to bring this thrilling film to life.

“The film has secured an incredible cast and the marketplace is really excited about the project.

“Michael Favelle has absolutely excelled in preselling this film across the globe, with an overwhelming response from the marketplace.”

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