NME Festival blog: Remember Momo? The terrifying internet hoax is becoming a film

by Karen Gwee
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Brought to you by the people who adapted ‘The Grudge’

Momo, the internet hoax that sent parents into a panic earlier this year, is becoming the subject of a horror film.

Orion Pictures, Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment and producer Taka Ichise will develop the film, Deadline reports. Lee and Ichise have strong horror resumes: They were, respectively, the executive producer and producer of The Grudge, a Hollywood adaptation of Japanese flick Ju-on: The Grudge. Ichise also served as producer on the Japanese horror classics Ring and Dark Water, while Lee produced the 2017 remake of Stephen King’s It.

The film doesn’t have a title yet, and its plot is unclear. The original ‘Momo challenge’ shocked the internet in 2018, with videos posted on YouTube that purportedly encouraged children to commit self-harm and even suicide. The challenge grew into a global phenomenon, and police forces worldwide began warning parents of the so-called challenge. Even Kim Kardashian called for YouTube to take down these videos.

However, the urban legend turned out to be just that – a myth. The crone-like figure that appeared in those videos was discovered to be based on a sculpture by Japanese artist Keisuke Aiso. Called Mother Bird, it was created for special effects company Link Factory, and was even part of a 2016 gallery exhibit in Tokyo. Fact-checking website Snopes found no direct connection between the Momo challenge and several youth suicides that the media had linked it to.

Lee and Ichise’s project is not the only film that will take on the Momo challenge: Getaway, directed by Lilton Stewart III, will also draw inspiration from the hoax, Deadline reported in May. The movie will follow a group of teenagers who start disappearing after one of them tells the urban legend of MOMO, the spirit of a bird-like woman who torments people with violent commands via texts and calls.


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Straight from the NME


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