Roland Emmerich – you know, that guy who directed what is arguably the biggest, most popular alien invasion movie in the history of cinema – is returning to familiar territory.

THR tells us that Emmerich’s newest – The Zone – is going to be an entry in the found-footage subgenre that was started with The Blair Witch Project (but recently popularized with Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity).

Plot details are still super-secret, but we do know that two actors have been cast (“one playing a haggard journalist in his 40s or 50s, the other a black man in his early to mid 20’s, the cameraman”), Sony will act as distributor, Loucas George is producing and that Emmerich will be directing a Guillame Tunzini script.

I’m actually pretty excited about this, for a couple of reasons.  I’ll be the first to admit I’m a big fan of the whole “found-footage” thing – when done right it can yield some fantastic results in terms of mood and atmosphere and with only 4 (major) films so far having used the technique it’s nowhere near the point of over saturation.  With this only having been just announced it will surely roll in well enough after the Paranormal Activity fervor (what little of it there is and hasn’t been scuttled away by poisonous WOM on the sequel) has died down and will probably share more buzz comparisons with Cloverfield – which was a great little flick.

But the other reason, and what’s probably the most exciting about this, is that the budget for The Zone is reportedly only $5 million.  Emmerich’s been playing with $100+ million-dollar budgets since the mid-nineties and has made his career on giant tentpole blockbusters, so it’ll be fascinating to see what he does with something so far removed from his wheelhouse.  Lars von Trier approves.