the bride

Dracula is having a moment. Not only is the horror icon the subject of two upcoming feature films from Chloé Zhao and Karyn Kusama, he’s inspiring countless others, including a new contemporary horror thriller from Screen Gems, The BrideNathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, F9) and Garrett Hedlund (Triple Frontier) are set to star in The Bride, the latest film in this apparent Dracula-ssance.

Deadline reports that Emmanuel and Hedlund have both been tapped to star in Screen Gems’ The Bride, a contemporary horror thriller directed by Jessica M. Thompson (The Light of the Moon) which tells the “story of a young woman who is courted and swept off her feet, only to realize a gothic conspiracy is afoot.”

Blair Butler pitched and wrote the original script, with revisions by Thompson. Emile Gladstone is producing the project, which is inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though not a straightforward adaptation of the horror classic. But anything Dracula-adjacent is apparently enough to get executives excited, with Deadline noting that the popularity of the Dracula IP has led the studio to fast-track the movie — which they see as a potential franchise starter — for an end-of-summer start.

While I naturally balk at the words “franchise starter,” it’s hard to resist the current Dracula-ssance. We’ve got not one but two Dracula movies from female auteurs in the works, as well as a spin-off in the form of the Renfield movie from The Tomorrow War director Chris McKay. Not to mention Dracula’s increasing visibility on TV (Netflix’s sexy Dracula seriesCastlevania, etc.). And while it’s a story that we’ve seen done many, many times, the premise of The Bride is intriguing, even if it does sound a whole lot like Crimson Peak and every other Gothic romance this side of Jane Eyre. But tackling this story in a contemporary setting gives The Bride a chance to do a fresh twist on things, especially with Emmanuel — who is very charming in her supporting roles in Game of Thrones and the Fast and Furious movies — in the rare position of a Black lead in a Gothic horror. Plus, the prospect of Hedlund as (I’m assuming) a seductive Dracula is all too enticing.

I don’t know much about Thompson’s work, but her feature film debut The Light of the Moon won her the 2017 SXSW Audience Award prize for Best Narrative Feature. Meanwhile, Butler has written for Polaroid and Marvel’s Helstrom.

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