The New Mutants trailer dropped and fans are a bit perplexed. Director Josh Boone said that this film would be, “a full-fledged horror movie within the X-Men universe.” And by the looks of the trailer, he wasn’t spouting some publicity nonsense. This thing is straight up spooky.
And you know what? That’s friggin’ great.
A Jolt to the System
I’ve written before about the exciting risks that the X-Men franchise is taking. The New Mutants trailer solidifies that. Marvel is comfortable with their “every movie is a quippy ensemble of fun heroes” formula. The X-Men franchise is actually playing with tone, structure, genre, and style in genuinely chancy ways.
So far, that’s paid off. Deadpool, Logan, and Legion have all been huge successes. The New Mutants looks to be as big a shock to the superhero norm as those projects. Honestly, The New Mutants is even more surprising since this trailer suggests a very minute connection to anything we typically associate with superhero storytelling.
If the genre is going to continue to grow and be relevant, it has to take risks and play in sandboxes it normally wouldn’t. That’s what has happened to comic stories for nearly the last century. And I’m glad The New Mutants is swinging for the fences.
A Time for Horror
Horror is huge right now. Look at the immense success of IT, Get Out, and Split. Audiences are craving horror. So, why shouldn’t superhero films respond? The New Mutants is not simply lifting little bits of horror imagery to try and sucker certain fans. It’s delivering something that’s full tilt horror.
That might take some fans by surprise, but that’s good! If this was lightly “inspired” by horror, it might come off as phony. Look at what happened to 2015’s Fantastic Four. Originally, it was going to be a hard sci-fi/horror film. But, the studio got cold feet and tried to reconfigure it into a more typical superhero story. That led to a compromised film that had no real identity.
The New Mutants looks confident in itself as a horror movie. If the studio allows Josh Boone to make this film the way he wants, it will be a success. This trailer gives me a lot of hope that that’s happened. We’ll find out if this all pays off when The New Mutants hits theaters on April 13. I can’t wait.