EXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has set Matt Reeves to direct The Passage, the film based on the bestselling Justin Cronin novel about an experiment that goes awry and creates a swarm of bloodthirsty vampires that brings the world to the brink of extinction. Fox acquired the book in 2007 for north of $3 million right after Cronin (the PEN Hemingway Award winner originally submitted the book under a pseudonym) made a 3-book deal with Ballantine for $3.75 million based on the first 400 pages of the book and an outline for a novel series. Reeves directed Cloverfield and mined bloodsucker terrain on the remake Let Me In. Scott Free is producing.

In The Passage, a group of terminally ill cancer patients get healthy after being subjected to the bites of bats in South America. Naturally, the government see this as a cure for the disease and starts experimenting. They end up with a legion of nearly indestructible, telepathic vampire masters that begin infecting the populace. The tone is closer to 28 Days Later and The Stand than Let The Right One In or Twilight Saga. Reeves will supervise a rewrite of a script done by John Logan. Logan’s busy with the James Bond film, so they will get another writer in.

It’s the second deal Reeves has made in the last week. I just wrote that he’ll adapt a film based on the Ray Nelson short story 8 O’Clock in the Morning for Universal and Strike Entertainment, about a man who awakens to realize he and others are being controlled by aliens. Reeves is scripting that one himself. It isn’t entirely clear which film is up next, but The Passage has a big head start because Logan put a lot of time into it. Reeves is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Karl Austen.