Horror fans had a lot of reasons to feel trepidation toward this year’s remake of Sam Raimi’s classic low-budget horror The Evil Dead. Though Raimi himself was attached as a producer, the remake was the feature directorial debut of newcomer Fede Alvarez, and no one knew quite what to expect. Alvarez’s Evil Dead was ultimately a box office hit and a moderate critical success, leaving a lot of people interested to see what the director would do next.
There’s been little news about Alvarez’s future plans since the release of Evil Dead, aside from some still-unconfirmed rumors floating around earlier this year that he was in talks to direct an upcoming Marvel movie. Perhaps Doctor Strange or another title could still be in this director’s sights, but right now it’s looking like Alvarez’s next trip may take him to Hell – all nine circles of it, to be precise.
According to Deadline, Alvarez is in talks for Universal Pictures’ live-action adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, the action-adventure video game created by Visceral Games, published by Electronic Arts and based on the first part of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy.” The current version of the script was written by Jay Basu (Fast Girls), and Dante’s Inferno is being produced by Eric Newman and Marc Abraham (Robocop) in collaboration with EA Entertainment vice president Patrick O’Brien.
It might seem a little odd to base the movie on a video game that didn’t sell all that well and received mixed reviews from critics, rather than on Alighieri’s original work, but the decision does make a certain amount of sense. Whereas Dante’s poem, like many of the classic religious epics, is huge and sprawling and difficult to boil down into a two-hour movie, the video game makes the story a little more palatable to mainstream audiences by reinventing Dante as a tortured Templar knight tasked with a basic quest to kill monsters and get the (undead spirit of the) girl.
If nothing else, Dante’s Inferno may end up being a decent substitute for the God of War movie that was being penned by Saw writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, but which hasn’t had a status update for almost a year. It does feel like video game movies are prone to getting stuck in the cogs more than other genres, perhaps because of the generally poor reputation associated with them, but there is currently a movement towards a video game movie revolution.
Former Marvel CEO and producer of movies like The Amazing Spider-Man and Iron Man, Avi Arad, has been open about his intention to make video game movies the next big success story, and recently talked about his intentions to produce movies based on Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid and Uncharted. Video game developer and publisher Ubisoft has also launched a new studio called Ubisoft Motion Pictures and is producing an Assassin’s Creed adaptation with Michael Fassbender, as well as movies based on Far Cry, Watch Dogs and Raving Rabbids.
If a movie does succeed at proving the viability of video game properties in Hollywood within the next few years, it could make the road into production a little smoother for Dante’s Inferno. Alvarez did a competent job of bringing Evil Dead into the 21st century and his involvement alone makes this project worth watching. However, if things don’t work out for Dante’s Inferno, at least we’ll be able to get plenty of mileage out of “development hell” jokes.
Dante’s Inferno doesn’t have a release date yet, but we’ll keep you updated on any further developments.