Robert Eggers' remake of the vampire classic Nosferatu is skulking its way toward us in 2024. IT star Bill Skarsgard plays the titular Count Orlok, the blood-sucker who wreaks havoc on a small European town, and we've got our first look at Eggers' deliciously atmospheric offering courtesy of Empire Magazine.
We don't get a glimpse of Skarsgard in character – that's clearly being held in reserve. However, we do have our first glimpse of Lily-Rose Depp as Ellen Hutter, the imperilled wife of estate agent Thomas (played by soon-to-be Lex Luthor Nicholas Hoult), who appears to be falling under the vampire's spell.
Given how terrifying Skarsgard was in the role of demonic clown Pennywise, we can only imagine how creepy he's going to be in this. Nosferatu first arrived on the big screen in 1922 and was directed by F.W. Murnau. It is considered one of the godfathers of the horror genre, entirely silent but bone-chillingly terrifying thanks to Max Schreck's lurking, animalistic portrayal of Count Orlok.
The movie was essentially an unauthorised adaptation of Bram Stoker's seminal novel Dracula, a development that invoked the rage of Stoker's widow and almost resulted in every copy of the movie being lost forever. Fortunately, events took a different course and Nosferatu cemented many classic horror images, none more famous than the silhouette of Orlok creeping up the staircase, which is evidently being referenced in the image from Eggers' movie.
Nosferatu was then remade in 1979 by Werner Herzog, and he cast regular collaborator (and tormentor) Klaus Kinski in the role of Orlok. Now, it's time for Eggers to have a go and he's evidently got the pedigree. His 2016 period chiller The Witch was acclaimed for its authentic dialogue and its piercing sense of time and place, as one family's religious mania gives way to terror. Likewise, the authentically retro psychological horror The Lighthouse (2020) deployed the old Academy aspect ratio and crisp black-and-white visuals to act as an homage to a bygone era of terror.
“It’s a scary film. It’s a horror movie. It’s a Gothic horror movie,” Eggers, a lifelong Nosferatu obsessive, tells Empire. “And I do think that there hasn’t been an old-school Gothic movie that’s actually scary in a while. And I think that the majority of audiences will find this one to be the case.”
“It’s even more Ellen’s story than previous versions,” he adds. “And Lily-Rose is absolutely phenomenal.”
It'll soon be time to bolt those doors and await the sunrise. Nosferatu arrives in 2024.