Neil Marshall Commits to Sacrilege
After seeing The Descent in 2005, I immediately became an avid follower of director Neil Marshall. The subterranean scare was simply brilliant with its dark, homespun execution. Arguably, this film got Marshall a lot of attention, far beyond his earlier UK-released werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers. Seemingly enough attention, in fact, that Marshall is hitting a bit of a stride. On top of his post-apocalyptic tale, Doomsday, due out this weekend, Marshall has a signed a deal for another new film entitled Sacrilege.
Marshall will write and direct the horror flick that "is meant to be a pitch-black, gritty, period [piece]" set in the Old West. When talking about the intended placing of Sacrilege, Marshall conjures up dark tales of the Gold Rush times, such as the Donner Party. Not exactly celebratory as you would think, the Donner Party was a group of settlers in the 1840s that resorted to cannibalism when their party became trapped in mountains during winter.
Of course, this particular incident is simply evidence of certain dark times during that period and doesn't necessarily speak to the ultimate content of Sacrilege. We don't know the story's specifics as of yet, since Marshall hasn't begun writing it. He does add that the film is "Unforgiven by way of H.P. Lovecraft, with that grim, gritty setting and a horror element nobody has seen before."
Marshall might want to move quickly. We recently brought you news that J.T. Petty (Mimic 3) is set to produce a horror-monster tale of his own, set in the Dakota Territories of the 1870s. Is this a new genre? While Petty's The Burrowers sounds a bit like Tremors, I wonder what Old West evil-doer Marshall will come up with.
Personally, I'm glad to hear that Marshall is signed on to what seems like a more focused, small-scale scare than that which can be found in the upcoming Doomsday. The Resident Evil meets Mad Max thriller is much larger in scope than his earlier works. It'll be interesting to see how he does with big explosions, big sets and the big budget. Doomsday is estimated to cost $30 million, compared to the $6 million of The Descent and the $2 million Dog Soldiers. He certainly has his big-boy pants on now.
I suppose Doomsday is an exercise in Marshall feeling things out for himself and seeing what he's best at. If it works well, maybe he'll take on more big-budget projects. A quick poll: how many folks are intending to see Doomsday?
Regardless of the possible success, I'd rather see Marshall in a production that's a bit snugger, where his ability to weave intricate fear can shine through. That's why I'm anxious to see Sacrilege shape up. You lose this if the scope grows too big, which is why I think Doomsday might prove the outlier to Marshall's growing, successful career in horror.