With the Tom Cruise-fronted Mummy reboot coming unraveled at the box office, it’s fair to say that Dark Universe is off to an underwhelming start.
Universal’s attempt to create a shared cinematic world of classic monsters has potential, but the studio appears to have its work cut out winning over fans and critics.
Resurrected versions of Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, Van Helsing, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are in line to join Dark Universe, and while some may roll their eyes at the prospect of yet another wave of remakes, let’s not bury these monsters before they’re undead.
These horror icons have a rich history in Hollywood that stretches back for decades, so with the right talent attached, a serious rethink about the shared universe strategy and heeded lessons from The Mummy’s plight, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t recapture their former glory.
Classic monster films should frighten the bejesus out of us, or at least possess enough B-movie charm to make up for the lack of scares.
The Mummy nailed neither of these things, and that was one of its biggest problems.
Director Alex Kurtzman delivered your typical Tom Cruise blockbuster, a popcorn-fuelled action movie with mythology and light horror shoehorned in as afterthoughts.
Starting with Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein in 2019, horror and horror traditions should be at the fore of Dark Universe – we’re talking suspense, scares, eerie make-up effects and possibly a spattering of strategic gore.
These are the things horror fans crave. Not inflated budgets, A-list actors who look remarkably good for 54 and over-the-top action set pieces.