It’s safe to say that the failure of “The Mummy,” and with it, Universal’s Dark Universe provided the studio with a much-needed wake-up call forcing them to scale back and focus on small, self-contained, character-driven narratives that reimagined their iconic monsters for a new generation. Leigh Whannell‘s “The Invisible Man” rediscovered the essence of what made the titular character scary in a gaslighting psychological examination of trauma that’s received both critical and commercial success just recently surpassing $100 million at the Box Office on a $7 million budget. The inevitable announcement of the next Universal Studios and Blumhouse Productions monster collaboration was bound to happen sooner rather than later, and now, we know they’re headed back to Transylvania.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Karyn Kusama has been tapped to direct a new “Dracula” movie with Jason Blum (Blumhouse) producing. Using “The Invisible Man” as a template for producing the new vampire thriller, the report does state that Universal Studios has yet to be attached but will more than likely partner with Blumhouse again given Blum’s first-look deal with Universal.
While little is known surrounding the story, Kusama’s frequent collaborators Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay will pen the script, and similar to “The Invisible Man,” this “Dracula” will offer a contemporary spin on the classic tale.
This announcement continues Universal’s trend of filmmaker-driven narratives using their iconic monsters as studio already has projects lined up (some different takes on the same character) with Paul Feig, Elizabeth Banks, John Krasinski, and James Wan. According to the report, one producer stated, “It’s a ‘best idea wins’ approach, and they are having the filmmakers find the individual stories.”
The notion of a Karyn Kusama “Dracula” movie should be enough to get everyone excited given her proven track record not only in the horror genre (“Jennifer’s Body“) but in profound, contemplative character studies (“Destroyer“). Most recently, the filmmaker successfully blended the two subgenres directing several episodes of HBO‘s hit series “The Outsider” based on the Stephen King novel. One can only predict that Kusama’s take on “Dracula” will continue her exploration of horror and psychological crime thrillers for a vampire flick, unlike anything audiences have experienced before.