Kathryn Newton, Angus Cloud and Will Catlett have joined the cast of Universal’s untitled monster movie. The film, announced last month, will be directed by Radio Silence duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who recently revived the “Scream” franchise and previously helmed the cult favorite “Ready or Not.” They will join previously cast Melissa Barrera and Alisha Weir in the mysterious fright flick, which now has a theatrical release date of April 19, 2024.
Chad Villella will produce alongside William Sherak, Paul Neinstein and James Vanderbilt at Project X Entertainment. The script was written by Stephen Sheilds, with revisions by Guy Busick. That release date puts it a week after Warner Bros. Discovery’s animated “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim” and two weeks before Marvel’s “Captain America: New World Order.”
While nothing is officially known about the film’s storyline or even which marquee “Universal Classic Monster” will spotlight, it is pitched as the next installment in their “Don’t Call It a Dark Universe” do-over.
When Tom Cruise’s 2017 “The Mummy” flamed out ($410 million worldwide but with miserable reviews and indifferent word-of-mouth), Universal promised to pivot to a more varied and filmmaker-driven approach rather than using Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and the rest of the gang as their version of The Avengers. The pitch was rooted in variety, in terms of genre, budget, scale and rating so long as they highlighted a given Universal monster.
Leigh Whannell’s acclaimed and refreshingly horror focused “The Invisible Man,” which starred Elizabeth Moss as an abuse survivor seemingly being haunted by the spirit of her late boyfriend, seemed like a lesson learned. However, Chris McKay’s “Renfield,” subjective critical opinions notwithstanding, seemed to play like a refurbished Dark Universe flick, complete with superhero-ish fantasy action sequences, an abundance of mythmaking and a plot that served as a loose origin story for how Dracula’s familiar, played by Nicholas Hoult, became a damsel-rescuing good guy.
Newton has been around since “Bad Teacher” in 2011 and “Paranormal Activity 4” in 2012. She has since appeared in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Freaky,” “Detective Pikachu,” “Blockers” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Cloud plays Fezco on HBO’s “Europhia” and recently wrapped “Freaky Tales” alongside Ben Mendelsohn and Pedro Pascal. Catlett recently starred in “A Thousand and One” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and will next appear in the Apple series “Constellation.”