Benedict Cumberbatch Hopes Horror Fans Keep Their Doctor Strange 2 Expectations In Check

It's a year of change for Marvel Studios. A distinct shift in theme has occurred since Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began — with "WandaVision" and "Moon Knight," we've plunged into an era that uses Marvel's traditional heroes but allows for a more complex storytelling narrative that can teeter on the edge of what can be called "family-friendly." Then there's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," perhaps the biggest, most ambitious Marvel Studios project of the year, which is expected to follow up on the global phenomenon that was "Spider-Man: No Way Home." If the comparison isn't daunting already, "Multiverse of Madness" is being described as a horror movie, the very first horror film to come out of the MCU.

Sam Raimi, known for creating the original "Spider-Man" trilogy and the "Evil Dead" franchise, is at the helm for "Multiverse of Madness." The filmmaker appears to have leaned hard into his horror roots. The film's trailer follows our heroes being plagued with nightmares and features glimpses of a terrifying, zombified Wanda Maximoff ... and then there's evil Doctor Strange, who, by the way, has an eerie third eye. The "Multiverse of Madness" trailer elicits a sensation of danger, unlike anything we've seen in Marvel's superhero universe. But in case you're wondering just how scary it is, the man of the hour — Doctor Strange himself — is telling fans what to expect.

It's not The Shining ... but it's still pretty frightening

While the trailer features zombie Wanda and evil Strange, they're most likely the multiverse variants of the character and represent the consequences of what happens when you mess with time and magic. With fans worrying about the horror elements in the film, Benedict Cumberbatch revealed to Esquire Middle East that the "Doctor Strange" sequel might not be as scary as other renowned horror movies, but it's still Marvel's most frightening film of all time:

"I'm trying to dumb down expectations a little bit on that. I think almost definitely it is the most frightening Marvel film of all time, but I know that doesn't necessarily put it in the same league as 'The Shining,' or of 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose.'"

I think the actor is trying to convey that horror fans shouldn't expect too much gore or, for that matter, demonic possession from "Multiverse of Madness." He warned fans, though, stating that the movie could be far too scary for a younger audience. 

Sam Raimi leans deep into his horror roots

With Sam Raimi directing the film, there will unmistakably be some old horror movie magic that defines a Sam Raimi film. It'll have the filmmaker's trademark qualities. But the movie is dark in its tone, and it's undoubtedly going to make you jump in your seat a little bit.

"You know, I'm not a fan of horror. I'm a fan of some of those films, but I'm not a fan in the sense I find it very difficult to watch them," Cumberbatch added, stating that horror movies haunt him for much longer when he is done watching them. He continued:

"I'm very suggestible and gullible and I buy into what I'm watching and it just haunts me for too long afterwards. It just scares me for longer than the moment in the film. I don't really like living a life in horror or terrors, other than that in the real world without my imagination creating more. Horror is not my genre go-to."

'There are jump scares, there's a lot of shock horror'

Benedict Cumberbatch might not enjoy horror movies, but he asserted that while "Multiverse of Madness" has plenty of moments that fit into the genre, it can be "playful" and "quite scary" at the same time. He continued to Esquire Middle East:

"There are jump scares, there's a lot of shock horror as this is a Sam Raimi film, in tone and execution. There are a lot of his trademark zoom cuts, close-ups and the schlockiness of it as well. It does feel like watching a Sam Raimi film of old at times. There's a nostalgia kick to that, which I think feels playful at times, as well as dark and quite scary. I wouldn't say it's an out-and-out spine-chilling horror film, but there are definitely moments that make you jump, definitely moments that do fit into the horror genre."

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is set to release globally on May 6, 2022, and stars Cumberbatch as the powerful sorcerer alongside Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez, Rachel McAdams' Christine Palmer, Benedict Wong's Wong and many others. It's going to get pretty, pretty wild. See you at the movies!