Before Timur Bekmambetov officially settled on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as his next directorial effort, he became attached to direct The Last Witch Hunter for Summit. Things have obviously changed since then, but Bekmambetov remains set to produce the supernatural horror adventure.
Now studio heads are eying The Crazies filmmaker Breck Eisner to helm the project, which will likely be more of a straight-faced scarefest with a touch of dark humor, much in the same vein as another upcoming title, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
Eisner's Crazies remake was a well-received blend of intelligent horror and humor that in part led to Eisner being considered to helm pics like the Ouija board game movie, as well as the Escape From New York and Flash Gordon remakes. He's not the visceral auteur that Bekmambetov is, but Eisner seems to have a serious yet self-aware approach to his work, much like the Wanted director. So he seems a fitting replacement in that regard.
Deadline says that The Last Witch Hunter revolves around its namesake, a warrior who is (naturally) the last of their kind, tasked with keeping the remaining sorceresses and warlocks under control. It was scripted by Cory Goodman, who penned the upcoming Priest adaptation. Depending on how well that Korean comic book flick turns out, Goodman's attachment may not bode well for Summit's Witch Hunter.
Films that blend supernatural horror and straightforward action genre tropes are not all that innovative, but there does seem to be a handful of those arriving in the future. Besides Priest, Hansel and Gretel, and Last Witch Hunter, there's also the Dracula re-imagining Harker on the horizon, and two cinematic adaptations of Seth Grahame-Smith's action-driven genre mashup novels - the aforementioned Abraham Lincoln pic and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
G.I. Joe director Stephen Sommers demonstrated just how profitable, if silly, a supernatural action/adventure can be, with his first two Mummy movies. However, his expensive Van Helsing project proved to be less of a financial hit (and more of a critical bomb) just a few years later.
Last year's Wolfman remake was more an homage to old-fashioned supernatural horror fare, but its box office returns were only moderate and failed to cover its $100+ million budget. So that may in part account for why Hollywood seems more inclined towards supernatural creature tales that are more action movie friendly.
Eisner has more experience in delivering genuinely unsettling horror material, so him possibly directing The Last Witch Hunter should be well-received by those hoping to see more of a scary supernatural horror tale. If nothing else, fans can at least take comfort in the fact that Summit doesn't seem to be going the Twilight route with this project.
We'll keep you posted on the development of The Last Witch Hunter in the future.