Gretchen Lee– Staff Writer
After a theatric dry spell with the onset of COVID-19, the anticipation for the first releases this fall were high. For New Mutants, the anticipation was especially high, considering that the movie has been undergoing re-edits and revisions since 2016. After changes in directorial and editing staff, audiences had mixed expectations for the film. Additionally, New Mutants was pitched to movie-goers as Marvel’s first dive into the horror genre, an intriguing prospect to many.
A prospect that really did not deliver.
While the movie does have some jump scares and carries many horror themes, New Mutants failed to be truly unsettling or frightening. Predictability and overplayed themes bogged down what had the potential to be a thrilling story. The characters and concept were decent, but the storyline was lacking in suspense. Every major plot twist could be seen from the beginning of the movie, making the entire film anticlimactic. The characters were never fully fleshed out and their motivations and storylines felt incredibly lacking.
All of that aside, the movie does have a few redeeming qualities. The cinematography and ambiance were both excellent and backed by a quality soundtrack helped to build some suspense. However, those silver linings failed to make this movie anything better than just “meh.”
It is evident that New Mutants suffered from a lack of consistent leadership. If the director had not changed or Disney had not forced the movie through so many re-edits, the execution would likely have been much more successful. It is difficult to picture Marvel, as a part of Disney, ever successfully making a film within the horror genre since it is so far outside of the usual fare for both companies. The lack of success in this film casts somewhat negative expectations for the next Marvel film that has been pitched as horror: Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. It will be interesting to see if the audience’s negative reaction to New Mutants will adjust how this next installment within the “superhero horror” genre is filmed, or if the Dr. Strange sequel might be changed to a “thriller” instead.
Whatever Marvel decides in the future, hopefully they will learn from this debacle and allow horror movies to be horrifying. Had New Mutants been allowed to be a part of its assigned genre, it would have been far less forgettable.