Zack Snyder to return to directing with Netflix’s Army of the Dead

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Directing movies can be a tough job, especially when dealing with popular pre-existing franchises. You somehow need to balance your own artistic vision with staying true to the original content – while meeting the almost always unrealistic expectations of fans. Fans that can be extremely fickle at times too.

Take Zack Snyder for instance who, as a passionate comic book fan, has seen his work on the DC Universe maligned by many fans when they came out. Only for it to also be praised by other fans, especially after some of them realised that there actually may have been some decent intent with what he wanted to achieve.

Combine that with the tragic death of his daughter which caused him to abandon 2017’s Justice League during post-production in the first place, and I guess it’s been no surprise that Snyder hasn’t rushed into making another film. However, after an absence of almost two years, it appears the director is ready to step back behind the camera, this time away from fickle comic book fans… towards arguably just as fickle zombie movie fans.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Snyder’s next project is set to be a zombie-thriller film called Army of the Dead which he is teaming up with Netflix to make. The film will begin production in the middle of this year with Netflix reportedly giving Snyder a budget of $90 million to play with. That’s a big amount for a Netflix movie, but pocket change compared to the massive budgets Snyder was working with on his DC movies.

Clearly though, Netflix has a lot of trust in Snyder, not just because of the big budget they are willing to give him, but also according to the director himself who says he has been given free reign from Netflix to do his own thing and that “there are no handcuffs on me at all with this one”:

I love to honour canon and the works of art, but this is the opportunity to find a purely joyful way to express myself though a genre. It will be the most kick-ass, self-aware — but not in a wink-to-the-camera way — balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen. No one’s ever let me completely loose [like this].

Just what exactly is Army of the Dead going to be about? Well, in the same interview Snyder describes the film as centering on a man who hires a group of mercenaries to invade Las Vegas during a zombie outbreak to pull off “the greatest heist ever attempted.” 

That actually sounds pretty cool with a nice twist on the usual formula, and I am excited for Snyder to be back in the director’s chair. While I am admittedly not a big fan of his approach to filmmaking which I find more stylistic over substantive, at least he always had a bold vision.

His movies might not always get their pacing or characters right, but they were always pretty to look at and he definitely had a flair about the way he set up his scenes. Seeing what he can do without any studio meddling will be exciting – and could either give us one of the most awesome and cinematically epic movies ever, or just end up completely self-indulgent and hollow.

I do like the idea of the movie though and Snyder’s already proven his zombie chops with his very underrated 2004 remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Hopefully he can pull this production off as well and give us something different in a genre that struggles for originality. Army of the Dead is scheduled for release sometime in 2020 and I guess we can expect it to at least be one of the prettiest movies you are going to likely find in Netflix’s catalogue.

Last Updated: January 30, 2019

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