Do you remember hearing about the Momo Challenge when it went viral last year? As meme history will tell you, it was a viral game shared through messaging services like WhatsApp that supposedly encourages kids to hurt themselves and even commit suicide, all at the behest of a terrifying bird-faced woman (seen above) who demands more violence and horror.
Though there have been several news reports about this supposed dangerous challenge game, the reality is that it’s all a hoax perpetuated by the internet, and there haven’t been any videos or evidence to support the idea that this is something kids are actually doing. But the premise is enough to land the Momo Challenge a horror movie that is now in development.
Deadline has word that Orion Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment are teaming up with producer Taka Ichise to create a horror movie based on the haunting, mutated woman known as Momo. In reality, the woman is just a sculpture called “Mother Bird” by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa that first appeared in a 2016 gallery exhibit in Tokyo. But now she’ll become a big screen terror that feels like it could call back to Japanese horror imports like The Grudge and The Ring, especially since Vertigo and Taka Ichise were the ones who brought those franchises to the United States.
Controversy surrounding this supposed challenge was first sparked in 2018 when a news report emerged in Argentina warning of a dangerous viral game happening through the WhatsApp messaging app that encouraged kids to hurt themselves and maybe even commit suicide, as was said to be the case with a recent 12-year old girl’s suicide. Since then, the Momo Challenge has been the topic of discussion and warnings in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For more, you can check out the full timeline of how this viral hoax came to be over Vox.
This year, the Momo Challenge made all sorts of headlines when Kim Kardashian called attention to the fact hoaxers had spliced images of Momo into kid friendly content like clips from the animated series Peppa Pig or Fortnite gaming videos. YouTube denied that this hoax was something that was actually happening, but that didn’t stop the challenge from going even more viral, especially with all the news reports about the dangers of the viral sensation supposedly sweeping the nation.
However, the movie may not simply be about the idea of a terrifying bird woman coercing children into harming themselves. Funnily enough, the original sculpture that inspired the Momo Challenge was inspired by the legend of Ubume, a venomous, child-snatching bird of Japanese folklore. Maybe we’ll get a mix of both of these elements in a movie. What could be more terrifying than parents thinking that Momo is nothing but a viral hoax when it’s actually something taking their children away?
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