Nicholas McCarthy, who helmed 2012 indie The Pact, has signed on to direct horror-thriller Descendant.

Written by Jeff Buhler (Jacob's Ladder), the new project centers on Sarah and John Turner, parents of Miles, a young boy has been gifted with genius-level intelligence and perception. But as Miles grows older, he begins to change in chilling ways, leaving his parents and doctors wondering if his talents come naturally or if there is some sinister force influencing him.

Tripp Vinson (The Rite, Exorcism of Emily Rose) is producing the project with XYZ Films executive producing. Descendant is currently in preproduction, with principal photography set for later this year. XYZ Films is handling world sales and co-repping U.S. sales with CAA in Cannes.

McCarthy is well-versed in horror. He directed The Pact, which was an indie hit at Sundance, and he also helmed 2014’s At the Devil's Door. He’s repped by Plattform and CAA.