Blumhouse is following up its recent smash hit The Invisible Man with another classic Universal Monster. A new adaptation of Dracula is in the works, with Karyn Kusama (Destroyer, The Invitation) set to direct from a script written by her frequent collaborators Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. As reported by THR, the movie isn’t officially at Universal yet, but Jason Blum’s hit-making production company has a first-look deal with the studio. It seems highly unlikely that they’d let the project go somewhere else.
After famously struggling to revitalize their Classic Monsters into a big-budget shared universe franchise with 2017’s tepidly received Tom Cruise vehicle The Mummy, Universal called an audible and shifted tactics to focus on smaller-budgeted offerings from established filmmakers. (Yes, the practice of “making movies based on an actual story idea” is now considered a bold new strategy.)
Kusama, who directed the excellent horror thriller The Invitation as well as the cult horror comedy Jennifer’s Body, is expected to follow in The Invisible Man’s translucent footsteps and update the Dracula story to modern day. She’s an interesting choice for the project – in addition to film, she’s also directed for television, including an episode of the recent HBO horror crime series The Outsider, which shares several story elements with Dracula. The thought of a single-location thriller version of the vampire tale (in the vein of The Invitation) or a crime procedural version (like The Outsider) would be fascinating takes on the familiar story. (Or maybe Jennifer’s Body it up and do a pulpy comedic Dracula.) With Leigh Whannell’s gritty domestic abuse take on The Invisible Man creeping towards $100 million at the box office against a budget of $7 million, Blumhouse is clearly looking for outside-the-box ideas to breathe long-awaited life into the old monster properties. For more on the Universal Monsters, read about the strange history of the century-old franchise.