Who the hell is directing this movie?

That’s the first thought which occurred to me while watching The New Mutants trailer. What had previously been thought of as X-Men: The Next Generation has turned into a horror movie set in some kind of hospital/insane asylum for young mutants. It’s in keeping with both industry trends (horror is currently the most resilient, slump-proof genre the film industry has) as well as Fox’s creatively freeing decision to adopt a “fuck it” policy toward franchise continuity.

Make the best movie or TV show possible, not the best part of a larger puzzle, or so they seem to be saying.

For example: Give Deadpool the freedom to be an R-Rated meta-comedy? Holy chimichanga. Turn Logan into a superhero Unforgiven? Cool. Infuse a healthy dose of David Lynch into the minduck-prone Legion? Sure. Why not. Make Gifted a better version of Heroes while ultimately not really caring how it fits in with the movies? Have at it. Adapt New Mutants into not simply X-Men with a younger cast but instead as something deeply indebted to a plethora of horror movie tropes? You do you, Fox. You’re kind of killing it right now anyway.

But the question remains: who in the world is responsible for all that horror imagery in the New Mutants trailer? Did something change behind the scenes? Because last I looked Josh Boone, The Fault in Our Stars writer-director, was directing this. That can’t be true anymore. The dude with a knack for tragic teen romance has done this with The New Mutants? Nope. Not buying it. The Fault in our Stars guy didn’t suddenly turn into a Blumhouse director. Something clearly changed while I wasn’t looking.

[Leaves to check IMDB]

Okay. Turns out, nothing changed. Boone is still, indeed, the director.

Here’s the thing: just because he started his career as the writer-director of Stuck In Love (a 2012 family drama starring Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly and Lily Collins) and the aforementioned Fault In Our Stars doesn’t mean that’s all Boone is. After all, at the same time he was hired for New Mutants he was also being set up to write and direct a film/TV series hybrid adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. That ultimately fell through, but it serves as a crystal clear indication of Boone’s aspiration to branch out. He was hot off of Fault’s huge success. Fox brought him to do something with the New Mutants property, an X-Men offshoot created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982, and what he came up with is something entirely unexpected.

In truth, I know very little about the comic book incarnation of The New Mutants. So, it was wrong of me to ever assume I knew what a film adaptation would look like. According to sweet lady Wikipedia, “In addition to very serious depictions of teenage angst and growing pains, the series featured themes of mysticism. The stories also relied on wilder, more far-fetched premises than were typical of X-Men at the time, shaping into more of a science fiction and fantasy series than the superhero coming-of-age comic it had been touted as in its early days.” Even this, though, seems to be straying from that decades-long identity. To be fair, I suppose this might still be a superhero coming-of-age film, just in a horror context.

As Charles Xavier would say, it’s the next evolution of the franchise, and it’s not at all what I expected. Instead, it has the look of something far more interesting than just another round of same ole, same ole. They’re pushing the horror angle so hard they barely even mention or highlight Maisie Williams role in the film. That’s confidence, right there, and I suspect it will pay off for them come April 13, 2018.

Hold on. April 13th? In addition to releasing the trailer today, Friday the 13th, they’re also releasing the film on a Friday the 13th?

[Leaves to check calendar to verify]

They are! Those wily sonsabitches.

What do you think of The New Mutants trailer? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

12 Comments

  1. Well, I hated the trailer but only because I have read the comic books. The New Mutants was occasionally pretty dark (with the most famous run being that whole demon bear thing) There’s a Native American mystic on the team, an alien, and a werewolf, so yeah, kinda heavy sometimes.

    But this trailer is full of every cliche I’ve ever hated in a horror movie. So nah!

    Reply

    1. It will be interesting to see what the next trailer looks like because this one, as you said, is one horror movie cliche after another. Is that truly representative of what the movie will look like? Or were they pushing so hard into horror this time out to capitalize on Friday the 13th and the current success of It? Could there possibly be a slightly more conventional narrative hiding inside of that movie, one which won’t alienate New Mutants comic book readers? I kind of doubt it. This trailer is probably the movie we’re getting, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

      Reply

  2. Come on. What could they possibly do with the franchise which ended really with Days of Future Past. Apocalypse was unnecessary and its lack of takings at the box office proved that. Fox have decided not to copy Sony and loan the rights back to Marvel but instead are going to take the franchise to a new genre. And why not? All the original xmen line up of actors have fulfilled their contracts. Lets see how it goes. Not the worse idea but makes me think RIP Bryan Singer.

    Reply

    1. There is a definite “Why not? What do we have to lose?” feel to Fox’s current X-Men strategy of taking the franchise in surprising new directions, continuity be damned. Those who want more of the same in the familiar X universe will have Dark Phoenix. So, Fox’s hasn’t completely moved on from the same ol’, same ol’, but they’e taken some pretty damn big steps in that direction.

      Reply

  3. I have stopped caring about the X-men a long time ago…..but at least this off the wall stuff is something I might give a shot one day while I have zero interest in watching acopalypse.

    Reply

    1. Just like DC, Fox is still making the middle-of-the-road cinematic universe movies, which is why we had Apocalypse and will next have Dark Phoenix. But this New Mutants thing is just so out of nowhere. I had no inkling that this is what Boone was going to do with it, but after Deadpool, Legion and Logan I shouldn’t really be so surprised to see them going so off the wall. Like you said, this is the type of stuff people who’ve long since given up on the standard X-Men films can give a shot to.

      Reply

      1. I mean, I guess it works for Fox in the sense that they made solid money out of it (in the case of Deadpool much more than they could expect but that was at least partly due to the low budget). But it also feels a little bit like Fox is settling on something. In a way, this is a good thing, though. I said a while ago that it might be smart for Fox to cover the R-rated market for Superhero movies, since none of the other studios (and especially not Disney) seem to have a real desire to go there, meaning they can have a niche for themselves. It is certainly smarter than trying to compete with the big boys. On the other hand, though, I kind of feel like they should invest the effort to pull the whole thing a little bit more together, so that it works like a brand, and not just a series of random movies which just happened to be made by the same studio and are roughly based on the same properties.

      2. “On the other hand, though, I kind of feel like they should invest the effort to pull the whole thing a little bit more together, so that it works like a brand, and not just a series of random movies which just happened to be made by the same studio and are roughly based on the same properties.”

        I get the impression that they are kind of making this up as they go along and adjusting their strategy on a project-by-project basis, and that they probably aren’t 100% what they’ll do after Dark Phoenix. Because after that film, which feels like a contractual obligation project, they might finally be free to stop already with the primary X-Men movies. Do they switch to more standalone after that? Transition over to Deadpool and X-Force as the new faces of the franchise? If so, how exactly do The New Mutants fit in, if at all?

        I find all of that kind of invigorating, actually. But you’re not wrong that there could be a little more tonal or stylistic consistency. I mean, this New Mutants trailer almost drops that Marvel logo as a sneak attack, making us think this is some random horror movie but, no, boom, it’s actually about the young, would-be X-Men!

      3. It doesn’t even have to be in the movies themselves, but in the representation.

  4. Since I hate the Horror genre, I didn’t even bother to watch the trailer, solely based on your description of it. No interest, whatsoever — and I’ve seen all of the X-Men movies. And enjoyed them.

    Reply

    1. Fair enough. This is definitely more Nightmare on Elm Street than typical X-Men.

      Reply

  5. […] horror films (It, Annabelle 2), and Fox has unexpectedly taken the X-Men in a horror direction with The New Mutants. However, that’s them chasing a trend, not truly emulating a business […]

    Reply

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