Dead Space 2, the sequel to the critically acclaimed survival horror videogame Dead Space, may not be out for another six months, but the buzz surrounding the franchise is as high as ever. As a result, it’s no surprise to hear increasing activity around a film adaptation of the game franchise.
Director DJ Caruso (Disturbia) recently discussed several interesting details regarding the status and direction of the Dead Space film – revealing it’s a prequel to the first game.
“We’ve got a really good sort of storyline. It’s almost a prequel, sort of, to where the game picks up.”
However, that seems to be about all Caruso knows at this point. Despite the fact the filmmaker has an idea of where the movie would fit within the game universe, the actual story is still mostly undecided:
“We don’t have a writer for it yet, but… right before I left we were listening to different writers and taking different pitches. We have to decide on a couple once we get back what we’re going to do. We’ve tried to crack the story a few different ways, so I know when we get back we’re going to get into it and I feel like we’ll have a screenplay in a few months. It’ll hopefully be ready to go.”
Caruso started work on the Dead Space adaptation in 2009, alongside producer Wyck Godfrey, but the filmmakers temporarily parted ways to work on other projects. Now, with the buzz surrounding the new game, as well as the start of I Am Number Four filming, it sounds as if Caruso and company might be looking toward their next project – and a return to Dead Space:
“It’s one of those things where the storytelling of it and trying to get into the prequel [is a challenge]. You have have the whole sort of brainwash-y/Scientology thing and ultimately the Necromorphs. It’s interesting to try to get the major studios to understand that this [isn’t ‘Event Horizon’]. So you’ve got to sort of steer their brain out of that. So we’re fighting some of those elements. … I’m still looking forward to getting going.”
It’s good to see that Caruso is taking the property seriously, considering the number of terrible videogame adaptations in Hollywood. A Dead Space film, done the right way, with a mix of tense suspense-horror and big budget action could be an incredible ride.
However, I’m not sure if a prequel is as enticing to me as a story centered on the events between Dead Space and Dead Space 2. Not to mention the fact that a Dead Space prequel already exists, in the form of the 2008 animated film Dead Space: Downfall – which is, ironically, still promoted at deadspacethemovie.com.
“On a deep space mining mission to a remote planet, an ancient religious relic – thought to be proof of the existence of God – is unearthed and brought aboard. When the unholy artifact unleashes a long-dormant alien race, its glimpse of Heaven transforms the ship into a living Hell.”
In addition, a prequel videogame Dead Space Extraction, an on-the rails shooter for the Wii, followed the same prequel story featured in Downfall.
Dead Space, for those unfamiliar, picks up when Isaac Clarke investigates a distress call from the aforementioned “ship” (the USG Ishimura). Dead Space 2 takes place, three years after the conclusion of the first game, on a giant Necromorph-infested space-station called the “Sprawl”. How the “Sprawl” was overtaken by the alien life-form is central to the story in Dead Space 2 – but could also offer a much broader canvas for Caruso to prepare an incredible Dead Space franchise film.
Time will tell if the live-action Dead Space prequel is the right way to go. There’s reason to be optimistic but only if Caruso can find a compelling way to tell a chapter that fans of the franchise have already been told – twice already.