An update on upcoming horror movie Hold the Dark

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A first look at the upcoming horror movie, Hold the Dark, directed by The Green Room’s and Blue Ruin’s director Jeremy Saulnier, sheds some light on what the film will look like.

I’m sure almost no one has ever seen Murder Party or Blue Ruin, but if you have, then you already know how great a director Jeremy Saulnier is. His third and most popular film,The Green Room, became one of the best horror films of 2015. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart, the movie about a punk band taking on a group of Neo-Nazis was nominated for many awards and earned its place on many top ten critic’s lists.

Saulnier’s gradually moved up the directing ladder. His directorial debut, Murder Party, was a horror comedy with a run time of 79 minutes that was both extremely low budgeted and limitedly distributed. The movie doesn’t even have a score on Rotten Tomatoes, just 4 critic reviews and an audience score of 59%. His second film, Blue Ruin, about a man who returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance, received slightly more attention and heavy critical acclaim. Blue Ruin was not produced by a large company but rather with crowdfunding through a Kickstarter campaign. Funded with $35,000 and Saulnier’s personal savings, the movie grossed $993,313 worldwide, which may not seem like much, but considering the budget, it’s major.

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Given his impressive track record, I think we can expect a lot from his new movie, Hold the Dark. Based on the novel of the same name by William Giraldi, it’s a thriller set in the Alaskan wild that involves child-napping wolves, an unholy mystery and mankind’s inability to combat nature’s cruelty. According to the director, it’s his bloodiest and most character driven film to date, with the highest body count yet. Jeremy Saulnier shared some details with Empire magazine, revealing how it’s been a number of “firsts” for him.

"“This film has so many firsts for me,” Saulnier said. “It has my record number of intimate dialogue scenes and my highest body count. It has my first war scene, my first aerial sequence, my first time working extensively with animals. So in that regard it was a huge challenge.”"

Hold the Dark is a Netflix original that stars Alexander Skarsgård as Vernon Sloane and Westworld star, Jefferey Wright, as a wolf expert named Russell Core. The basic story is that wolves have stolen and killed three children from a remote village. The village then brings in a wolf expert to investigate but he learns a horrible secret from one of the children’s mothers. When the woman’s husband ( Skarsgård) returns home, he discovers that his wife has gone missing as well, and he begins a frantic search to find her. The films’ other stars include Riley Keough as Skarsgård’s wife, James Badge Dale as a detective and James Bloor as a creepy drifter.

Hold the Dark was expected to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but because of a feud between the festival and Netflix, it will have its big premiere on the streaming service on September 28, 2018, instead. Though Saulnier is disappointed about his film not premiering at the festival, he made a statement on how movies that premiere on streaming services are just as important as those released in a theater. According to him, anyone who thinks his modest movies are just TV movies can, “go stab themselves in the face.”

If Saulnier’s earlier films are anything to go by, then Hold the Dark is going to be another intense and compelling horror film to add to the misunderstood genre. It’s not all slasher, masked villains, and haunted houses, horror can be story driven too. Saulnier’s childhood friend, Macon Blair wrote the screenplay in their fourth collaboration together but this will be his first as screenwriter. Blair’s written the scripts for the Netflix movies I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore and Small Crimes, and has proved himself to be a talented screenwriter. He will also have a supporting role in the film as he commonly does in all of Saulnier’s works’.

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Saulnier’s bleak, high-stake thrillers are only getting better as time goes on, and one after the other they’re becoming more ambitious. I’m excited about this one.

Catch Hold the Dark on Netflix on Friday, September 28.