Director Fede Alvarez digs two graves in this franchise’s road to relevancy.
You can’t keep a good franchise down. Despite the death of Stieg Larsson in 2004, and the lukewarm reception to David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake, Sony Pictures is pushing full steam ahead on the Millineum series. Seven years after Rooney Mara had her crack at the goth angel of vengeance, Lisbeth Salander, Claire Foy steps into her punk rock shoes to hunt the men who dare to hurt women.
The trailer reveals a vision that is less about the meticulous frame and more about the lingering dread building behind Salander’s intentions. Pretty as a picture, The Girl in the Spider’s Web is not. Director Fede Alvarez appreciates the grotesque, and he’s the maniac you want steering uncontrollable rage. What we see below is barely a glimpse of the horrors Alvarez will gleefully drag his pawns. We should all prepare ourselves for the inevitable red band trailer.
What could be worse than being vacuum sealed in latex? Probably the shot that came before, and the shot that comes after. While there is not a turkey baster in sight, you can bet Alvarez took this job because his sensibilities align perfectly with the Swedish concept of gore noir. Few do misery better.
When Larsson could not continue the adventures of Lisbeth Salander, author David Lagercrantz was brought on board to keep the money train rolling. The Girl in the Spider’s Web attempted to ease up on the internal sickness motivating our hero. The novel positioned Salandar as a righteous crusader of lost causes, nearly moving her into comic book superheroics.
The reception was mixed, but the level of depression that Larsson specialized in could never have been maintained. Publishers (and movie studios) want a protagonist that can be serialized ad infinitum. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Peroit, Phillip Marlowe. Even looking to slasher cinema, the Freddy Krueger you knew in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street is not the jokester that went toe-to-toe with Mr. Vorhees in Freddy vs. Jason. When you start at 11, there is nowhere to go but down.
If Sony is looking to conserve the despair on display in Larsson’s novels, or their Swedish adaptations, bringing on Fede Alvarez is a step in the right direction. Few do nauseating cinema better. Say what you will about his Evil Dead, but you cannot deny the depths of depravity he fiendishly drove his effects wizards. I doubt The Girl in the Spider’s Web will supply anything as willfully repugnant as that film’s chainsaw fight amidst a blood-storm, but you can bet good portions of this one will need to be seen through crossed fingers.
Those that plot revenge and remakes should dig two graves. You’re guaranteed not to please everyone, and cause the ire of the fanbase to rise up against you. And yet, look at the new Susperia trailer. Contemplate the possibilities of Donald Glover’s Willy Wonka. There are grand possibilities in the evolution of tried-and-true concepts. Let Lisbeth Salander be Batman. Don’t worry, she still has a psychopath directing her actions, and your bloodlust will be satiated.