The New Mutants film has wrapped production and according to Fox, it will be “like a haunted house movie.” The film features a new cast of mutants with a range of unusual powers – from Wolfsbane, who literally becomes a wolf creature, to mutants like Mirage, who can manipulate dreams and reality, to Magik, who has demonic abilities in the comics. For these reasons, a haunted house-style scenario seems like a perfect, if somewhat unusual fit, for this particular superhero movie. When you add in the bloody good logo that director Josh Boone shared on social media, a lot of the picture is starting to come together about just what New Mutants will look like.
That’s thanks to a push to stand out amid a landscape saturated with superhero films. From the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Deadpool 2 and even the Oscar contender Logan, the challenge has become not just to tell a superhero story but to tell it differently, in addition to telling it well. Making New Mutants into a horror film is a bold take on a genre that’s usually focused on heroism and teenage empowerment. According to Fox Studio Head Stacey Snider, however, great effort is put into differentiating the stories told to make powerful superhero franchises. New Mutants sounds like just that.
Here is what Snider told Variety, when asked about the concerns of “superhero fatigue” and how New Mutants gets around that:
New Mutants is about these teenagers who are just coming into their powers. It’s like watching mutants go through adolescence and they have no impulse control, so they’re dangerous. The only solution is to put them in a “Breakfast Club” detention/“Cuckoo’s Nest” institutional setting. It protects the people on the outside, but it’s strange and combustible inside. The genre is like a haunted-house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers. We haven’t seen it as a superhero movie whose genre is more like “The Shining” than “we’re teenagers let’s save the world.”
In addition to discussing the multiple Fox/Marvel franchises, Snider stressed to Variety that great effort is being taken to differentiate the stories that they want to tell. Focusing on teenagers, their lack of impulse control, and the horror of changing into something different sounds timely and important. Of course, a superhero horror film that celebrates differences, like New Mutants, might be a tough sell for audiences who aren’t used to that sort of thing.
Either way, this is a very different take than the original run of the New Mutants comics drawn by the great Bill Sienkiewicz and bears a stronger resemblance to the upcoming X-Men TV series The Gifted, in terms of its darker outlook. That very element could also be what helps New Mutants to stand out and become a hit, too. Exactly what horrors the heroes of New Mutants will face remains to be seen, but watching them overcome those very horrors could prove just as empowering as if they had been set out to save the world at large.
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