The New Mutants director Josh Boone on why he’s made this X-Men spin-off a straight-up horror movie

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Mar 26, 2021, 7:00 AM EDT (Updated)

If you’ve already seen the terrifying trailer for The New Mutants released yesterday (on Friday the 13th, no less) then you’ll know that this X-Men spin-off is taking a firm swing at the horror genre.

Director (and die-hard Marvel comics fan) Josh Boone has spoken to IGN to talk about his decision-making process going down this route, and how the hell he got FOX to allow him to make it a straight-up scary movie.

“I mean ... FOX made Deadpool and Logan, and they were sort of so tonally different they felt emboldened to let us go make it different, and make it have its own distinct tone and identity,” Boone reveals. “I think of the mainline X-Men movies more as grand operative science fiction films. This is much more of a performance-driven horror film.”

The premise of the movie sees five young mutants held in an eerie asylum-like facility as they begin to discover their abilities. Boone also reveals that the pitch for the project was based on Bill Sienkiewicz's run with Chris Claremont (The New Mutants vol. 1 #18–31, 35–38), when things became significantly darker and more horror-driven.

It’s not just the comic books that have inspired Boone, either, with movies as diverse as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) being used as visual references.

As seen in the trailer, there’s a scene where figures are stretching through a wall that is a noticeable riff on Freddy Krueger. “Yes, that’s my homage to Mr. Craven, and we did it practically.” Boone explains. “They did that stupid remake of Nightmare and they did it with CGI, and I was like, how did they do it in the original? They got rubber walls.”

The director adds that only 10% of the movie is shot on green screen, revealing: "90% of this movie was shot on real locations. We did as many of the effects practically as we could. It has some big visual effect stuff as well, but we really tried to do everything we could possibly do real so it would feel a little bit more like those movies we liked and were inspired by."

Boone is certainly a busy man right now, as the writer/director has also been hired to pen the screenplay for King and Peter Straub's 1984 novel, The Talisman. Judging by his commitment to keeping things real and raw -- we can't wait to see what's coming next.

The New Mutants is scheduled to be released on April 13, 2018. Are you excited-and-scared for it? Let us know in the comments below.