Netflix has released the new Blumhouse film Thriller. Directed by Dallas Jackson, the slasher-style horror is set in South Central Los Angles and examines the deadly consequences of a prank gone wrong. Last September, Thriller first premiered at the LA Film Festival. Despite reports of a "surprise" release, Thriller's premiere date has been on Netflix's schedule.
In Thriller, Jason Woods stars as Chauncey Page, a student who gets to sent to a youth detention center after accidentally killing a woman. Four years later, he returns to his Compton community during homecoming weekend and wreaks havoc in the style of Halloween’s Michael Myers. Thriller’s score was composed by RZA, an original member of the Wu-Tang Clan and one of the hip-hop genre’s most accomplished producers. RZA also has a main role in Thriller, and he’s one of the film’s co-producers as well. Thriller co-stars former Everybody Hates Chris actors Tequan Richmond and Paige Hurd, along with Mykelti Williamson (The Purge: Election Year) and Vanessa Bell Calloway (Coming to America).
Thriller is now available to stream on Netflix. RZA’s score is similar to John Carpenter’s iconic Halloween score, though Thriller’s villain dons a hood rather than a mask. Genre fans may recognize the name of Thriller’s cinematographer, as Mac Fisken has previously filmed lower-budget horror productions like Pod, Darling, and Carnage Park - all of which were directed by Mickey Keating, the host of Shudder’s The Core series. Thriller marks the directorial debut of the aforementioned Jackson, who previously executive produced the BET series Rebel starring Method Man and Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, and served as a consulting producer for TeenNick’s South of Nowhere. Check out the Thriller poster below.
As for Netflix, the streaming service does indeed have a history of surprise releases, even if Thriller isn't one of them. In 2018, Netflix released The Cloverfield Paradox after Super Bowl 53, and the franchise film wasn’t well received by critics and general streamers. Last December, Netflix released the mysterious interactive film Bandersnatch, a stand-alone extension of the Black Mirror franchise. During the ensuing months, streamers discovered various secrets embedded within the Bandersnatch experience, resulting in even more revelations. Just last month, Netflix surprise-released the Blumhouse horror film Mercy Black, directed by Owen Egerton and starring Daniella Pineda alongside Austin Amelio.
To begin 2019, Blumhouse released the theatrical films Glass, Happy Death Day 2U, and Jordan Peele’s Us. Since then, they’ve released Mercy Black, Stockholm, and now Thriller. While there seems to be a difference in production value between the two groups, a film like Thriller may please genre fans that appreciate a throwback 1980s aesthetic. Even more, the all-black cast displays Netflix and Blumhouse’s willingness to tell diverse stories.