In his feature-length directorial debut, B.J. Novak takes us down south for a satirical whodunnit.
The Office (2005) writer, executive producer, and director, B.J. Novak is making his feature-length writing and directorial debut in the new comedy-thriller Vengeance (2022) this July. The film is said to be a satire on true crime podcasts. The synopsis reads:
“A radio host from New York City attempts to solve the murder of his girlfriend and travels down south to investigate the circumstances of her death and discover what happened to her.”
Shot in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and set in West Texas, the film follows Ben Manalowitz (Novak), a New York City journalist and podcaster, creating a podcast about a girl he once had a fling with to investigate the circumstances of her death. He wants to highlight how people create conspiracy theories instead of admitting that she might have been murdered. Ben meets the locals and her family, who think the two had a much closer relationship than they did. He awkwardly navigates relationships with them while helping to tell their stories about Abilene. The cast includes Ashton Kutcher, Dove Cameron, Issa Rae, and Boyd Holbrook.
The official trailer hints that the story will start out very comedic. The mystery will deepen and becomes more ominous as the film progresses. I’m excited to see Novak writing and directing longer-form material. Prior to this film, his writing and directing credits have been episodic.
Vengeance had its world premiere at the Tribeca Festival on June 12, 2022. Novak described the opportunity in a statement saying, “I am overwhelmed with happiness that Vengeance will premiere as the centerpiece film of the Tribeca Festival, which has supported so many of my favorite artists over the years.” Blumhouse produced the film and Focus Features has already signed on to distribute it.
Vengeance will release theatrically in the United States on July 29, 2022.