In keeping with the revival craze, Universal will be revamping its classic monsters for a string of reboots in the coming years, including new takes on the likes of Bride of Frankenstein and Dracula. Alex Kurtzman’s Tom Cruise-fronted The Mummy will kick off the updates in June, followed by the Johnny Depp-starring Invisible Man and the yet-to-be-cast Wolfman, both slated for 2018. Also on the docket is Van Helsing, which last hit big screens in 2004 with Hugh Jackman in the lead.
It’s yet to get a confirmed release date, but details have been slowly trickling out. It’s set in present day, takes inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road, and is being written by Passengers‘ Jon Spaihts and Oscar-nominated Arrival scribe Eric Heisserer. As for the plot, Heisserer has teased it will be a slightly more restrained adaption of Stephen Sommers’ version. He’s said in the past that he’s grown disenchanted with the idea that “only super people can solve the world’s problems,” and though Van Helsing will include supernatural characters, it won’t be a superhero movie.
In a recent interview with Collider, Heisserer revealed it even may end up veering a little more horror than action-adventure. As he told the outlet:
“I don’t know what it’s going to look like at the end of the process, so I’m gonna withhold on commenting on really where it lands. I can say that my intent stepping in was to make it as scary as possible, partly because I know how to do that, and also because when you’re the only human surrounded by a bunch of supernatural creatures, that’s gotta be absolutely unnerving.”
Though the final product will largely depend on who signs on to direct, Heisserer certainly has the proper background to craft a terrifying cinematic experience. Among his previous credits are slasher remake A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010), sci-fi horror flick The Thing (2011), and last year’s Lights Out, which was critically praised for its chilling, fright-filled narrative.
Still, it will be a tricky line to navigate. Sommers’ take was largely criticized for being too over-the-top and heavy on CGI, and horror films don’t always have the best reputation when it comes to subtle storytelling. But Heisserer has proved he has a knack for it, and a newly scary premise may just be the jolt Van Helsing needs to make it a bona fide hit.
No more details have been announced for Van Helsing, but Screen Rant will keep you updated.