Put on that haunting, medieval plague mask you've got lying around the house and check out the first trailer for Neil Marshall's latest feature: The Reckoning. A rather prescient piece of cinema, the horror film — which opened 2020's Fantasia Film Festival — takes place in the Middle Ages (circa the 1660s) at the height of the Bubonic Plague (aka the "Black Death"), which wiped out an estimated 30-50 percent of Europe's total population.
Charlotte Kirk (Ocean's Eight) stars as Grace Haverstock, a healthy woman who is accused of being a witch after the death of her husband. As a result, she is forced to endure physical and mental torture at the hands of England's ruthless witch hunter, Judge Moorcroft (Gotham's Sean Pertwee). Asserting that she is innocent, Grace "must face her own inner demons as the Devil himself starts to work his way into her mind," reads the official synopsis.
Check it out:
Joe Anderson and Steven Waddington co-star.
"The Reckoning was initially born out of a desire to spin a good yarn that would chill and thrill in equal measure. We love the idea of scaring the hell out of audiences and wanted to make something truly terrifying, but also unlike anything we’d seen before," Marshall and Kirk said in a joint statement. "As part of the creative process we did a ton of research, and the more we unearthed about the horrific trials and tribulations thousands of women were forced to endure, we felt this story should carry a more powerful message along with the scares. So, The Reckoning is as much about female empowerment as it is about Witch Hunts and the Great Plague of 1665. And, of course, when making the movie in 2019, we had no idea the world was about to be brought to its knees by a modern-day plague, and how that would add to the many reasons this movie is so relevant for today’s audience. But above all, it’s a scary, entertaining and suspenseful thrill-ride and we can’t wait for you to see it."
Marshall is known for helming Dog Soldiers, The Descent, and episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones and Netflix's Lost in Space. He was also the director of Lionsgate's ill-fated Hellboy reboot, which starred David Harbour (Stranger Things) in the title role. After such an unpleasant studio experience, it seems like the filmmaker is getting back to his indie horror roots with The Reckoning.
"The Reckoning isn’t quite the return to form for Neil Marshall that genre fans might have hoped for, but it’s nowhere near the misfire that Hellboy was," Bloody Disgusting wrote in its Fantasia Fest review. "The film looks good and is shot well, particularly for audiences with an affinity for torture. Alas, the central conflict between witch finder and accused witch proves too safe and repetitive to be truly memorable."
The movie (co-written by Marshall and Edward Evers-Swindell) arrives in select theaters and on digital platforms on Feb. 5.
Marshall's next project is entitled The Lair, a film in which a soldier crashes in the desert and must fight off half-human, half-alien hybrids.
Penned by Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies (co-writers of Ritchie's last movie, The Gentlemen), the James Bond/Tenet-y project is about an MI6 agent (The Meg's Jason Statham) who is recruited by a "global intelligence alliance" known as Five Eyes to track down deadly new weapons that could disrupt the entire world order. Reluctantly teamed up with a tech maven from the CIA, the British spy must use all of his cunning and charm to infiltrate the organization of a billionaire arms broker.
According to Deadline, Elwes will be playing the role of Nathan Jasmine, the commanding officer of Statham's top secret mission. Aubrey Plaza is also a part of the cast, but her role is being kept under wraps for now. Production plans to kick off this month in Turkey and Qatar.
“Jason is a global box office heavy weight, and when teamed with Guy Ritchie, that’s an irresistible combination,” Adam Fogelson, chairman of the STXfilms Motion Picture Group, said in a statement when the movie was first announced in early September of 2020. “It’s a thrill to be back in business with Guy, Bill, and the team at Miramax after our shared success on The Gentlemen and we believe Five Eyes is the kind of film our partners overseas will love as much as we do."
According to Zack Snyder, his long-awaited cut of Justice League is not really attached to the wider DC Extended Universe. Appearing on the Film Junkee YouTube channel in late December, the filmmaker said:
"For me, I think that Justice League is slightly [an] Elsewhere [story] a little bit. Just because with this version ... I kind of just do my own thing a lot more than I did in [Batman v Superman]." He went on to discuss his set-up of the various team members in Dawn of Justice: I was like, 'Look, I'm gonna give you an Aquaman, I'm gonna give you a Flash. Do with them as you please. I'm gonna use them in Justice League, but whatever filmmakers come along, like James Wan, I want them to just go nuts.'"
What he probably meant to say was "Elseworlds," a term that refers to alternate realities within the DC universe that do not influence the wider continuity. Superman: Red Son and Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham are good examples of Elseworlds comics. The phrase was also used by The CW for its fifth Arrowverse crossover extravaganza.
"The DC Universe has branched off and done its own thing, and that's fine," Snyder told ComicBook Debate, referring to the fact that Justice League (first released in 2017) is "an old movie" at this point. "As far as what my vision for what I wanted to do with these characters and the journey I wanted them to go on, it's well-known that I planned on more movies. It was five movies or something, but I'm busy, I've got a lot going ... Would I continue? I have no plan to, but like I said, I didn't think I'd be here, so who knows?"
Zack Snyder's Justice League will arrive on HBO Max as four, one-hour segments. No specific premiere date has been announced yet, but there are rumors that it could drop as early as March. In any case, it's still going to debut sometime this year. Snyder will reportedly no longer have any affiliation with DC-inspired movies after this project.