Have you watched Overlord yet? The badass WWII horror flick? No? Well, you better go do that right now. Yes, right now! It’s right there on Netflix. We’ll wait…
…OK, done? How awesome is that, right?! And the man responsible for all that amazingness was Julius Avery, a young Australian director who had previously only made the little-seen Son of a Gun. Unfortunately, the JJ Abrams-produced Overlord was also little-seen as it bombed hard at the box office due to no big recognizable stars and an R-rating, but the movie was hugely critically acclaimed and announced Avery as a serious talent to keep an eye on.
Well, it would appear that Universal Pictures did just that as the studio has now tapped Avery to direct a brand new Van Helsing movie, with horror maestro James Wan attached to produce. Avery will also be penning a brand new draft of the film after Eric Pearson wrote an original version of the script.
Just what that script entails is unknown right now, but Deadline describes this new film as a “horror/thriller” which is “set in the world of the famous monster hunter”. A member of Universal’s classic movie monster library, Van Helsing was first introduced in Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel as the vampire’s stake-happy nemesis. The character would go on to appear in several books and films, sometimes on the trail of not just bloodsuckers but also other things that go bump in the night. In 2004, Universal sought to bring Van Helsing into the modern age with a Hugh Jackman-led PG-13 adventure but the film was a cheesy, steampunk-esque CG-fest that got destroyed by critics and badly underwhelmed at the box office, killing off the studio’s plan for it to launch a franchise.
If that sounds familiar it’s because, following the faceplant of the 2017 Tom Cruise-led The Mummy reboot, Universal also killed off their Dark Universe franchise which would have seen their classic movie monsters engaging in a shared cinematic universe set in modern times. When The Mummy DOA’d that idea, Universal pivoted to instead reboot their iconic characters with independent, filmmaker-driven visions no matter how radical. The idea paid off big-time with Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man reboot which drew rave reviews and earned massively worldwide. This has resulted in Universal cueing up more such projects including The Wolf Man starring Ryan Gosling (also directed by Whannell), Dracula directed by Karyn Kusama, The Invisible Woman written/directed by Elizabeth Banks, a Scorpion King reboot, The Bride of Frankenstein written by David Koepp, and the inevitable sequel to The Invisible Man.
With these films, Universal is also not afraid to go R-rated (especially after the success of The Invisible Man) which will suit Avery’s style perfectly. He showed on Overlord an incredible talent for blending tense, jaw-dropping action sequences with gory, nightmarish horror. That sounds perfect for a Van Helsing movie, and I am totally stoked to see what he comes up with. Hell, he may as well just cast Overlord’s Wyatt Russell or Pilou Asbæk in the lead role right now, because I can totally see either of them nailing it.
It’s assumed that Avery will be tackling this film after he wraps up Samaritan, his current production which sees him directing Sylvester Stallone as a washed-up old superhero who everybody thought had died long ago.
Last Updated: December 2, 2020