Director Josh Boone has always been forthcoming in his assertion that ‘New Mutants’ would be a superhero horror movie, but even so, when the first trailer for the upcoming ‘X-Men’-related film finally dropped this past week, it was a shock just how much of a horror movie this was. In fact, were it not for the text that accompanied the film clips (including the familiar Marvel logo), viewers might never have realized that this was in any way a comic book movie. Instead, all of the clips were set inside of a sanitarium with quick cut shots of scared teens being terrorized by threats, either supernatural or psychological. (We’re left unsure.)
Of course, 20th Century Fox has been pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a comic book movie over the past couple of years. ‘Deadpool’ was a hard R-rated comedy punctuated with extreme violence. (Or an extremely violent action movie with lots of raunchy comedy.) ‘Logan’, also rated R, was a deep, melancholy end of a hero’s journey that has been compared to the great Westerns of the past. Fox is even wrangling for awards season recognition for this installment which was allegedly released without the ‘X-Men’ label in order to distinguish it. At the same time, Fox’s more mainstream ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ was a box office disappointment that got swallowed up by stiff summer competition.
It seems as if Fox has determined that audiences are more than ready for something completely fresh when it comes to super movie fare. As Boone himself said:
“FOX made Deadpool and Logan and they were sort of so tonally different they felt embolden to let us go make [New Mutants] different, and make have its own distinct tone and identity. I think of the mainline X-Men movies more as grand operative science-fiction films. This is much more of a performance-driven horror film.”
But that’s not all. As is the case with every comic book movie, ‘New Mutants’ is being viewed as part one of a franchise. Boone has already promised that– should the first prove successful– that the sequel will bring in other fan favorites like Karma and Warlock. But one thing that will remain consistent is that this will be another horror movie:
“We brought it to FOX as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by [artist Bill] Sienkiewicz, and kind of incorporates some stuff from later issues in the ’80s.
These are all going to be horror movies, and they’ll all be their own distinct kind of horror movies. This is certainly the ‘rubber-reality’ supernatural horror movie. The next one will be a completely different kind of horror movie.
Our take was just go examine the horror genre through comic book movies and make each one its own distinct sort of horror film. Drawing from the big events that we love in the comics.”
Speaking of that ‘rubber-reality’ one scene that stood out from the trailer was a scene that Boone admits was inspired by the ’80s ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ flicks.
Yes, that’s my homage to Mr Craven, and we did it practically. They did that stupid remake of Nightmare and they did it with CGI, and I was like how did they do it in the original. They got rubber walls.
90% of this movie was shot on real locations. We did as many of the effects practically as we could. It has some big visual effect stuff as well, but we really tried to do everything we could possibly do real so it would feel a little bit more like those movies we liked and were inspired by. 10% of the movie was green screen and nothing else really. We shot on in a 150 year-old mental hospital that’d been closed for 50 years.
While fans might have been thrown for a loop by the straight-up horror vibe of the ‘New Mutants’ trailer, one thing everyone must admit is that this is different. While the majority of the ‘New Mutants’ comic book series was the usual teen super heroics, stories like ‘The Demon Bear’ storyline– which heavily influenced this film– delved into the horrific.
It appears that Boone and his collaborators have tapped into that in order to craft something unique in order to distinguish this not only from the other ‘X-Men’ films but other superhero movies from all studios.
What did you think of the ‘New Mutants’ trailer? Are you intrigued by the mutant horror angle?
Directed by Josh Boone, ‘New Mutants’ stars Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams and Henry Zaga. The film will hit theaters on April 13, 2018.