Eric Heisserer came out of nowhere when he wrote A Nightmare on Elm Street - but that didn't stop him from racking up a high-profile workload including The Thing prequel as well as the upcoming Final Destination 5.
Heisserer recently spoke about the upcoming projects, Final Destination 5 and The Thing prequel - which are both scheduled for release in 2011. Words may only be words (and actions speak a lot louder) but Heisserer at least intends to pay homage to both franchises and their roots, which is a step in the right direction - at least when it comes to horror remakes.
According to an an interview with iF Magazine, Heisserer wants to breathe new life into Final Destination 5 by overlooking the last three films in the series and focusing on the first installment:
"We’re going to go back to what made the original work and build from there. We’re going to make sure we’re creating good suspense horror movie that happens to be a Final Destination movie. That’s not to say it’s not going to have the hallmarks of what we’ve come to love about the franchise. We learned a lot of lessons from the fourth movie, and we want to show we’ve grown from that. I also want to show what a love about the franchise, and most of what I loved about it, is all in the first one."
Considering the mixed reviews from A Nightmare on Elm Street, it's tough to put an overwhelming amount of faith in Heisserer's hands but the writer is right about one thing - the first installment was a good film. It was engaging, exciting, and original. But that third reason, originality, is exactly why all four sequels didn't work. The idea has worn thin.
Is there a possibility of revitalizing a perfectly good concept? Sure. But it is going to be one tough undertaking.
It is not only important for Heisserer to learn from the mistakes of the latest installments, but also other sequels of late that have "gone back to the original." You can't just create a similar story and throw the original actors back in the pot - we're looking at you Fast and Furious.
Put simply, these franchises rarely work. If the intention is to regenerate an entirely new passion for the series, Heisserer may be getting in way over his head.
As mentioned, in addition to signing on with Final Destination 5, Heisserer is working on the prequel to The Thing. Early reviews of the script are in and they are certainly mixed. Similar to his intentions with the Final Destination franchise, the writer told the studio his passion for keeping the original close to the story and laying off the CGI.
"I don’t know what kind of authority I had as the writer, but I came in wanting them to make this a practical effect movie. I wasn’t going to write something that was going to be a CGI-fest. I held their feet to the fire on that. That may be what got me the job, or it may be that I wanted to protect the original as much as possible and to create a companion piece that we felt would work seamlessly as a double feature with Carpenter’s The Thing."
Heisserer went on to explain the details of his prequel. (MILD SPOILERS AHEAD, unless you've seen the original)
"It’s set in 1982. This focuses on the Norwegian camp. The last shot of this movie will be two Norwegians in a helicopter chasing a dog...We have a bunch of grisly, veteran Norwegian theater actors and some Americans, and we justify their roles in this. We created a story that is very much in the world of the 1982 movie. There are borrowed elements from that, but it works as its own narrative."
The intentions seem to be innocent enough, but with a short resume it's hard to get overly excited about the upcoming films. Heisserer tried hard to keep A Nightmare on Elm Street closer to Wes Craven's original concept - but effort doesn't count when the movie hits theaters.
As the wise Yoda once said, "Do or do not. There is no try."
Still, filmmaking and screenwriting are a learning processes, and in the early stages of his career, Heisserer got a head start on most aspiring writers by latching on to three big releases. The future is bright for the writer - assuming he can prove himself with these next two projects.
Final Destination 5 is set to release in 3D in 2011.
The Thing is expected to release in 2011.
Source: iF Magazine via Shock Till You Drop