Blumhouse Are Saving Universal Monsters - But What About The Dark Universe?
We're now faced with another revival. The Dark Universe so far has had a very tough start - and more than one redo - but Leigh Whannell has approached Universal with a plan for The Invisible Man that they just couldn't refuse.
Now partnering with Blumhouse, the short story is that The Dark Universe is scrapped. It's dead with no chance of resurrection, if what they're peddling is true, and Johnny Depp truly is the invisible man when it comes to casting as he's nowhere to be found.
Variety has reported that the latest films will be posited as “a fresh strategy for the Universal monsters properties, bringing creative directors with distinctive visions to the classic characters.” Aka, Saw franchise veteran Leigh Whannell, bestie of James Wan and director of last year's incredible science-fiction movie Upgrade, that managed to weave deft, understated horror tones throughout that would suit Universal's goals perfectly.
Peter Cramer, the president of Universal's production, went on to comment:
“Throughout cinematic history, Universal’s classic monsters have been reinvented through the prism of each new filmmaker who brought these characters to life... We are excited to take a more individualized approach for their return to screen, shepherded by creators who have stories they are passionate to tell with them.
“The titles will be rooted in horror, with no restrictions on budget, tone, or rating, and no expectation that they will exist as part of a shared universe. An insider close to the process said freeing up the characters’ origins and stories to different interpretations will help them appeal to modern audiences.”
This means better budgeted, actually scary, focussed horror movies with a powerful production company driving the ultimate in modern horror straight into the heart of Universal's misguided properties. Joining with Blumhouse, and Leigh Whannell, is the most perfect thing that could happen to this franchise as they essentially embody everything Universal has been trying to capture on their own.
But does it actually mean the death of The Dark Universe? According to the company it does, but with the success of The Invisible Man feeling like a sure thing on the back of these announcements it's unclear as to whether they'll actually stick to making individual entries for their old school bad guys. With Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing and Benicio Del Toro as The Wolfman already having their own attempts in fairly recent memory, reintroducing these characters too soon will just spiral them out of control once more as they try and make a bigger picture before assembling the smaller ones. It took Marvel 10 years of hit and miss, after all.
Whannell truly is the best thing that could happen besides Guillermo Del Toro walking in and taking the helm. He's perfect for some nuanced, strong horror stories and a respected industry veteran that can bring his knowledge to the big monstrous names of the genre. These are B-Movies, at their heart, and Universal would do well to remember that.
It is truly quite likely this isn't the last we've heard of a shared universe in the future considering the monetary gain and collective appreciation for these creations, but just how dark it turns out to be is what we'll have to wait and see.
What do you think about the Dark Universe? Should Blumhouse give it another go? Let us know down in the comments.