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Windfall - What We Know So Far

The thriller genre is a permanent wellspring of cinematic goods. Of all its myriad subgenres, variations, and spins, the home invasion thriller is arguably the one with the most enduring appeal. Even among viewers for whom the Shakespearean machinations of a financial or political thriller or the mind games of a psychological thriller don't do a lot, the threat of having one's safe haven encroached on is a universally, intuitively understandable one — as is the anxiety of being trapped in a place with dangerous assailants.

In recent years, this universality has contributed to an abundance of films about the events that unfold when property limits are trespassed on, from more straightforward ones like "Hush," "Breaking In," and "The Strangers: Prey at Night" to remixes and subversions of the formula, such as "You're Next," "mother!" and "Don't Breathe." The latest original movie announced by Netflix appears to be a star-studded entry into this classic subgenre. Here's what we know about "Windfall" so far.

When will Windfall be released?

"Windfall" is the third movie from Charlie McDowell, an up-and-coming indie filmmaker with a knack for the uncanny, who previously helmed doppelgänger comedy-thriller "The One I Love" and "The Discovery," a sci-fi romance set in a world in which the afterlife has been scientifically proven. Though the former of the two movies was better-received by critics on the whole, the latter is probably more widely-known, due to the fact that it was distributed by Netflix.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that McDowell is partnering up with Netflix again for his latest project. The streaming giant officially announced on July 12 that it had acquired "Windfall," with Deadline quoting sources' description of the purchase as a "major 8-figure dollar deal." Production wrapped earlier in 2021, but Netflix hasn't announced a release date yet.

Even so, we have past history to go by: "The Discovery" wrapped in May 2016 (via SSN Insider), was bought by Netflix in June (via Deadline), and then premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017 before hitting Netflix in March. Considering "Windfall" has already been shot, which shields it from possible pandemic delays, a similar release schedule seems quite feasible. Sundance is, after all, quite fond of old acquaintances, and McDowell has already premiered movies at it twice.

Who will be in the cast of Windfall?

The set of "Windfall" was most likely a very congenial one for Charlie McDowell: In addition to Jason Segel and Jesse Plemons, both of whom previously established a working relationship with McDowell in "The Discovery," the main trio headlining the cast of the director's new movie is rounded out by Lily Collins. Collins and McDowell have been engaged since September of last year.

Segel, himself a prolific Hollywood writer, collaborated with McDowell in developing the story of "Windfall," while the shooting script was written by Justin Lader — also the writer of "The One I Love" and co-writer of "The Discovery" — and Andrew Kevin Walker.

In addition to those three A-listers, IMDb lists only one more cast member in its page for "Windfall" at the moment: Omar Leyva. The Mexican-American actor is best known for his acclaimed supporting performance in the 2018 HBO film "Icebox," which tells the story of a 12-year-old Honduran boy trapped in the Kafkaeske U.S. immigration system.

Given the premise of "Windfall" and the fact that it was shot during the pandemic, with all the restrictions that entails, it wouldn't be surprising if those four actors turned out to make up the entirety of the cast. However, we can't know for sure until Netflix reveals more about the film.

What will Windfall be about?

Just as "Windfall" has "inherited" two actors from "The Discovery," it also seems to have some DNA in common with "The One I Love" on a plot level: Like Charlie McDowell's debut feature, his latest film focuses on a couple retreating to a vacation home. But, where "The One I Love" hewed closer to mumblecore-style indie drama despite its out-there premise, "Windfall" looks like it has the potential to be something considerably wilder.

Deadline gives the following official description: "The film is a Hitchcockian thriller following a young couple who arrive at their vacation home only to find it's being robbed."

The comparison to Hitchcock is enticing, not just because the Master of Suspense is one of the most energetic filmmakers to have ever worked in the medium, but because he himself knew a thing or two about home invasion thrillers, having given the subgenre one of its most famous classics with "Dial M for Murder."

That, plus McDowell's description of the project on Instagram as "something unique and completely outside the box," indicates that "Windfall" could be one of the most exciting offerings from the ongoing "making do in the pandemic" movement of indie cinema. Only a year ago, McDowell was announced as being attached to a different project altogether — true-crime flick "Gilded Rage" (via Collider) — which suggests that "Windfall" may have been the result of an irrepressible bout of lockdown inspiration.